INDIANAPOLIS - Loyola has certainly had its share of problems during this men's basketball season. However, for one night, or more specifically one-half of one night, the Ramblers put those problems aside and put a scare into Butler before falling 63-57 in front of 5,812 fans at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

There are reasons that Loyola (6-19, 1-4 Horizon League) has struggled throughout this season. There is the lack of rebounding, the porous defense, and well, that's enough.

Both proved to be the case throughout the first half, but certainly not in the second.

After allowing Butler (16-12, 10-6) to shoot nearly 60 percent from the floor, Loyola found itself trailing 32-19 late in the first half. However, the Ramblers began to tighten up defensively and that momentum carried over into the second half.

The Ramblers trimmed the deficit to 36-29 by halftime and when forward Ben Averkamp sank a pair of free throws with 7:52 remaining in the game, the Ramblers had climbed all the way back to tie the game at 44.

"Butler just doesn't let you get over the hump," Loyola coach Porter Moser said. "They don't change their demeanor and they don't change their body language. Butler understands that you can win a game many different ways."

Butler went a stretch of 3:14 in the final half without scoring and didn't reach double figures for the period until nearly 14 minutes into the half.

But despite the offensive struggles, the Bulldogs demonstrated why they still find themselves in the thick of the conference race.

"It's hard to win a basketball game," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "You always have to remember that. You always have to understand that and come into the game thinking that."

Holding a 51-49 advantage with just over two minutes remaining, sophomore guard Chrishawn Hopkins drained a three-pointer to stretch the Bulldog lead to 54-49.

On the ensuing possession, sophomore forward Khyle Marshall got behind the Loyola defense for a lay-in for a 56-49 Butler lead with 1:43 remaining.

While the Bulldogs were exhibiting confidence that comes from experience, Loyola missed consecutive three-pointers and from that point it was a matter of Butler hitting its free throws to seal the win. The Bulldogs hit 7 of 10 free throws in the final minute.

Despite it being in last place in the conference, Loyola exhibited a toughness that pleased Moser and impressed Stevens. After being out-rebounded 15-7 in the first half, including not grabbing a single offensive board, Loyola out-rebounded Butler 16-12 in the final 20 minutes and pulled down seven offensive boards.

"I'm disappointed (with the loss), but I'm not discouraged," Moser said. "These kids, every day in practice, you'd think that they were leading the league. We grinded, but we're limited."

Neither Hopkins, nor sophomore forward Erik Fromm have been Butler regular starters this season. However, both were effective Tuesday.

Hopkins started his fourth consecutive game for Butler and paced the Bulldogs with 13 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes. Sophomore forward Erik Fromm started for the third straight game and finished with 10 points.

Marshall and junior center Andrew Smith each chipped in 12 points, while senior guard Ronald Nored added six points, nine assists and five rebounds in the win.

A bright spot offensively for the Ramblers was the play of Ben Averkamp. The junior forward totaled 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting and also grabbed six boards.

Walt Gibler and Jordan Hicks totaled eight points each in the defeat.

"What's the difference between a team that's won some games and one that has only won one?" Stevens pondered.

"Not much," he said, answering his own question.