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NCAA tournament, first round: No. 5 Butler cruises past Texas El Paso, 77-59

March 18, 2010 |  4:31 pm

Butler_300 Shelvin Mack hit a career-high seven three-pointers and scored 18 of his 25 points after halftime Thursday, leading fifth-seeded Butler to a 77-59 victory over Texas El Paso in the first round of the NCAA tournament's West Regional in San Jose.

Gordon Hayward scored 13 points and Matt Howard added 11 points for the Bulldogs (29-4), who won their 21st straight game to extend the sport's longest active winning streak — but only after a dynamic rally from a six-point halftime deficit.

The Miners (26-7) were a popular NCAA upset pick after the Conference USA power received a surprisingly low seeding in the tournament. Instead, the Bulldogs made a 22-4 run after halftime led by Mack, who hit five three-pointers in the first 11 minutes.

Butler advances to face 13th-seeded Murray State, which surprised Vanderbilt, 66-65, on a buzzer-beater by Danero Thomas.

-- Associated Press

Photo: UTEP forward Jeremy Williams fouls Butler forward Gordon Hayward during their NCAA tournament game Thursday. Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  / Getty Images

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