HONOLULU -- Matt Howard scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the first half to help Butler to a 74-62 win over Utah in an opening-round game of the Diamond Head Classic late Wednesday night.
Howard was one of four players in double figures for the Bulldogs (7-4), who reached last year's NCAA championship game. Ronald Nored scored 16 points, Shelvin Mack 13 and Khyle Marshall 11.Butler led by as many as 15 late in the first half, but saw its deficit cut to seven with 9:19 remaining after a layup by Utah's Will Clyburn. However, Nored answered with a 3-pointer to make it a 10-point game and the Bulldogs never looked back.
Utah (7-4) was led by Josh Watkins' 17 points and Clyburn added 16 while Chris Hines and Shawn Glover scored 10 apiece. David Foster had seven blocked shots for the Utes.
Utah plays Hawaii late tonight.