Valparaiso, IN (Sports Network) - Willie Veasley returned from an ankle injury to score 20 points and grab six rebounds, and 15th-ranked Butler ran the table in the Horizon League for the first time in school history with a 74-69 win over Valparaiso.
Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack added 17 and 16 points, respectively, for the Bulldogs (26-4, 18-0 Horizon), who became the first team in conference history to go undefeated since the league went to an 18-game schedule. Butler also extended the nation's longest win streak to 18, which is also a school record.
In addition, the Bulldogs improved their impressive road record to 12-1 this season despite missing top scorer Gordon Hayward, who sat out the game with an injury.
Cory Johnson scored 28 points to lead the Crusaders (15-16, 10-8), who had a three-game home win streak snapped. Brandon McPherson added 14 points, as Valparaiso went a miserable 4-of-25 from three-point range in defeat.
Butler trailed by three with just under 11 minutes to play, but Veasley keyed a game-changing 19-3 burst with a trio of threes. His first make from beyond the arc put the Bulldogs ahead for good, 50-49, and he added two on back-to- back possessions for a 63-52 lead with 5 1/2 minutes left.
Howard capped the run with a pair of free throws for a 13-point lead with 4:50 remaining.
Valpo made a late run and got to within five on a Matt Kenney three with 1:24 left, but Mack responded with a layup, and Butler held on the rest of the way.
The Crusaders scored the first six points of the game and grabbed a 20-12 lead on a McPherson jumper midway through the opening half.
Butler remained close and went in front when Mack made a layup with 18 seconds on the clock put the Bulldogs ahead, 30-29. The lead was short-lived, however, as McPherson's pair of free throws in the final seconds gave Valpo a 31-30 halftime lead.
A pair of Mack threes sandwiched around a Howard dunk helped Butler surge to a 40-33 advantage early in the second half, but the Bulldogs recorded only one field goal in the next seven-plus minutes.
Valparaiso took advantage and managed to grab a 47-46 advantage on a Johnson three with just under 13 minutes to play.
The last team to go undefeated in Horizon League play was Wisconsin-Green Bay, which went 16-0 in 1995-96...Butler head coach Brad Stevens has 82 wins in his first three seasons as coach, the most of any Division I head coach in NCAA history...The Bulldogs have beaten the Crusaders nine straight times, including twice this season...Valparaiso is 9-3 at home this season...Butler leads the all-time series, 66-32.