ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. – For the first time since the 1996-97 season, Butler heads into the winter break undefeated after an 81-64 victory over Cowley on Saturday at W.S. Scott Auditorium.
Kyle Steward led the No. 7 Grizzlies (14-0) with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Chris Howell added 13 in the victory. Lamar Wofford and Adrion Williams scored nine points each. All 11 players that suited up managed at least one field goal in the contest.
The 14-0 Butler start is two games short of the 1996-97 squad, who opened the season with 16 straight wins en-route to a #1 ranking in the NJCAA polls.
Keying the victory was a hot shooting night for the Grizzlies, who hit 62 percent (18-of-29) from the field in the first half to build a 50-35 halftime lead.
Butler jumped ahead early on a Steward field goal to start the contest, but Cowley answered with an 11-0 run to take the lead. The Grizzlies answered back with a 16-0 run to take an 18-11 lead, jumpstarted by consecutive baskets by Lamar Wofford.
Cowley clawed back within six, 26-20, with 10:15 remaining in the half, but a Butler 23-9 run pushed the margin to 20 points. Caelan Neal and Damien Akao opened the run with back-to-back three-pointers. The Grizzlies added seven field goals inside the lane to build a 49-29 lead with 2:32 before the break.
With 12:26 remaining in the contest, Butler took its biggest lead at 64-41 over the Tigers. Travis House hit a three-pointer from the near corner, then Chris Howell added a layup to provide the 23-point cushion.
Cowley managed to pull within 14 with 3:26 left, but dunks by Caelan Neal and Adrion Williams put a close to the Butler victory.
Butler will now begin conference play, beginning with a home contest against Garden City on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 4 p.m.