INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Ben Vega scored a game-high 14 points and grabbed five rebounds as the Eagles fell to Butler, 73-53, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on saturday afternoon.
With the win, Butler improves to 9-1 overall, while the Eagles fall to 4-7 on the season.
Butler raced to an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes on a three-point field goal by freshman Shelvin Mack, a free throw by Howard, a pair of free throws by freshman Gordon Hayward and a lay-up by freshman Ronald Nored. The Bulldogs never looked back.
The Bulldogs, who defeated Florida Gulf Coast for the third straight year, stretched their lead to 17 points late in the first half and took a 43-26 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Butler scored the first six points of the second half on a three-point field goal by Willie Veasley and a conventional three-point play by Howard to take a 23-point lead, and Florida Gulf Coast (4-7) never got closer than 17 points for the rest of the contest.
FGCU will return to action on Monday (Dec. 22) when they head to Ann Arbor, Mich. to take on the University of Michigan at Crisler Arena. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be available on video stream on www.BigTenNetwork.com.