Feb. 11, 2010

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP)--Gordon Hayward scored 22 points and had a career-high 17 rebounds to lead No. 18 Butler past Youngstown State 68-57 for the Bulldogs' 14th consecutive win Thursday night.

Butler (22-4, 15-0) overcame 11 first-half turnovers to clinch its fourth straight Horizon League title. The Bulldogs' winning streak is one behind Siena for the longest in the nation. The teams will meet Jan. 20.

DeAndre Mays' 18 points led Youngstown State (8-16, 2-12), which has lost four in a row and eight of nine. Vytas Sulskis added 14 points for the Penguins.

The Bulldogs' start in conference play is the best by any Horizon team since Wisconsin-Green Bay began 16-0 in 1995-96. They can match that with a win Saturday at second-place Cleveland State.

Matt Howard had 11 points and Willie Veasley 10 for the Bulldogs, who won their seventh straight on the road.

Youngstown State made four consecutive 3-pointers during a 23-4 run midway through the first half to go ahead, but Hayward's driving layup and free throw 4 seconds before halftime gave the Bulldogs a 31-30 lead at the break.

Veasley hit a 3-pointer, blocked a shot, and Shelvin Mack hit another 3 for a 6-0 lead in the opening 54 seconds. The Bulldogs had hit a season-high 12 from beyond the arc in a 91-61 victory over Youngstown State on Jan. 16.

The Penguins got back into it with swarming defense and sharp long-range shooting of their own. Sulskis hit three 3-pointers as YSU battled back from a 16-5 deficit with a run that included 12 points on four consecutive 3s to lead 28-20.

Butler closed the first half with an 11-2 run, capped by Hayward's go-ahead three-point play.

Butler took better care of the basketball, held Sulskis to 1-for-5 from the field and shot 62 percent from the field in the second half.