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Diamond Head Classic, Butler Vs. Utah: Bulldogs Hang On Against Pesky Utes, 74-62

Watching this game, I got the feeling Utah just isn't that good, but they also didn't look incredibly terrible. There they were in the second half, never allowing Butler to run away with the game. The Utes stuck with the Bulldogs down the stretch, but never put Butler on red alert, staying close enough to make it look like a game, but never putting a scare into the superior Bulldogs.

Butler plays much like those teams we remember from a few years ago, where a six point lead seems like a 20 point lead. They're methodical, efficient and use a ridiculous amount of the shot clock at times.

In the end, it was a 74-62 Butler win. Utah got within eight with about two minutes to play before Butler finished it off. A quick spurt with time running down in the second half by the Bulldogs and the game was put to bed just like that.

Matt Howard is one ugly mother with a pretty game. Howard dominated the game inside and single-handedly willed the Bulldogs to win. With Shelvin Mack cold, and held in check for most of the game, Howard took the bulk of the scoring load, putting up 23 points in the win.

Klay Thompson Player Of The Game: Matt Howard. 23 points, seven rebounds and one ugly mug.

Right Hand Man: Ronald Nored. 16 points ,four rebounds, five assists and a steal. Nared was 3-4 from the field and 8-9 from the line. Not too shabby.

Unsung HeroKhyle Marshall. 11 points and six rebounds coming off the bench.

You'll get 'em next time, champ: Will Clyburn and Josh Watkins. 16 points and 12 rebounds for Clyburn in a losing effort. Hopkins had 17 points on 4-8 shooting while also hitting 9-14 free throws. It was Clyburn's game that kept the Utes close as Butler just couldn't stop him for much of the game. Watkins came on strong and drew fouls like a champ.

Play Of The Game: Didn't pay close enough attention to tell, so I'll go with a missed dunk. Those are always fun.

It Was Over When: Shelvin Mack hit a layup, Utah missed a dunk, Ronald Nored hit his free throws and Butler was up 12 with a minute and a half to go.

Stat Of The Game: Butler turned the ball over just six times. Matt Howard fouled out despite not picking up a second foul until midway through the second half. The fact that he only had one foul in the first 20 minutes is pretty impressive.]

Check out CougCenter's full coverage of the Diamond Head Classic here.