Wednesday, March 11, 2009
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Cleveland St. beats Butler 57-54

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[March 11, 2009]  INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Cedric Jackson scored 19 points and Cleveland State used a flurry of 3-pointers to beat No. 16 Butler 57-54 Tuesday night, winning the Horizon League tourney championship and its first NCAA tournament berth since 1986.

HardwareSix of Cleveland State's first seven field goals in the second half were 3-pointers, helping the Vikings (25-10) erase an 8-point lead by the Bulldogs (26-5).

Butler's last lead was 48-47 midway through the period, then Jackson hit a 3-pointer and a floater in the lane to put the Vikings in front for good. Butler had two chances to tie in the closing seconds, but Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward missed 3-pointers.

Mack led Butler with 18 points and a career-high nine rebounds.

Cleveland State, which lost to Butler in the Horizon championship game last year and twice again to the Bulldogs this regular season, earned its first tourney title, giving it the conference's automatic spot in the NCAA tourney. Butler, ranked in the Top 25 most of the season, is expected to receive an at-large NCAA tourney bid Sunday.


The Bulldogs led most of the first half, although a late rally helped Cleveland State close within 32-28 at halftime.

Butler regained an 8-point lead at 39-31 on a dunk by Matt Howard, but a 3-pointer by J'Nathan Bullock started the Vikings' comeback.

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They pulled within 42-40 on consecutive 3-pointers by Jeremy Montgomery and tied the game at 42 on a basket by Bullock. There was one more tie and one more Butler lead before the 3-pointer by Jackson put the Vikings on top for good.

Cleveland State's biggest lead was at 56-50 on the final basket by Jackson, who was voted tournament most valuable player.

Montgomery finished with 11 points and Bullock added 10 for the Vikings. Howard, the league's MVP for the season, added 14 for the Bulldogs.

[Associated Press; By STEVE HERMAN]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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