November 13, 1998
Result: Butler 70, Michigan State 62
Site: Breslin Center - East Lansing, MI
Records: Michigan State 0-1; Butler 1-0
Next Action: MSU vs. Central Michigan - Nov. 15, 1998 (2 p.m.) - Breslin Center
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Butler Bulldogs shot 61 percent from the field and held off a late run by Michigan State en route to a 70-62 victory tonight at the Breslin Center in the season opener for both teams.
Butler shot a blistering 68 percent from the field in the first half and took advantage of MSU foul trouble to race out to a 42-26 halftime lead. The Spartans, who shot just 31 percent from the field in the first half, could muster just 11 points in the first nine minutes of the second half as the Bulldogs took a 54-39 lead with 9:22 left in the game.
The Spartans had several opportunities to cut the lead to single digits in the second half, but turnovers and poor free throw shooting kept Butler in control. Sophomore Erin Skelly hit one of two free throws with 42 seconds left to cut the Bulldogs lead to 68-58. MSU regained control of the ball and junior Maxann Reese canned a three-pointer to cut the deficit to six points with 31 seconds remaining.
MSU fouled and Butlers Alison Edgar missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the Spartans were unable to convert at the other end and the Bulldogs held on for the victory.
"A very disappointing performance, no matter how you look at it," Spartan coach Karen Langeland said. "You cant win ballgames shooting 39 percent from the free throw line and 37 percent from the field. We gave up 42 points in the first half and let them shoot 68 percent and we shot 30 percent. You just cant win doing that.
"I think the most disappointing thing is to have such a poor performance in our opening game at home," Langeland added. "We owe Spartan fans a lot better than that. I guess the good thing is we play again on Sunday. We have to live with this overnight, practice tomorrow and get ready for Central Michigan."
Junior Kristen Rasmussen led the Spartans with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Maxann Reese contributed 12 points. Sophomore Becky Cummings was the only other player in double figures for MSU with 10 points and six rebounds.
Freshman forward Abby Salscheider provided a spark off the bench late in the game and finished the contest with eight points, three assists and two steals.
"I thought Abby played extremely well," Langeland said. "She shot well, had some assists and she got her hands on a lot of balls that created some turnover situations for us."
Junior Sarah Hurrle paced a balanced Bulldog offense with 18 points. Senior Jennifer Marlow and sophomore Julie Schrader contributed 13 points each, while freshman Kelly Kuhn added 10 points off the bench.
The Spartans return to action on Sunday, Nov. 15 when they host Central Michigan at 2 p.m., at the Breslin Center.
For more information, contact: Lori Schulze (517) 355-2271