INDIANAPOLIS With 14:56 to go in the second half, Darien Nelson-Henry put back a layup after grabbing an offensive rebound on a Penn miss, and the Quakers pulled within two points for the first time since the middle of the first half.
But immediately after, Butler went on its own 8-2 run over the next three minutes, and the Quakers could never recover in a 70-57 loss at the Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Miles Cartwright led Penn (2-10) with 15 points as leading scorer Fran Dougherty missed his second straight game with mononucleosis. Tony Hicks was the only other Penn player in double-digits, with 10 points.
But the star of the game was Roosevelt Jones -- the 6-foot-4 sophomore who led the Bulldogs with 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field.
No. 17 Butler (11-2) has now won eight straight games.
The Quakers outshot the Bulldogs from the field, hitting 52.2 percent of their shots -- and 71.4 percent from three-point range -- but Butler's 20-8 advantage on the boards more than made up for Penn's sharpshooting.
Behind 15 points and five rebounds from Jones, the Bulldogs took a 35-29 lead into the locker room.
Cartwright led the Quakers with 10 points in the half on 4-for-8 shooting from the field, including 2 of 2 from distance.
Inside the box score
In the first half, Butler pulled down 11 offensive rebounds to zero for Penn, enabling the Bulldogs to hold an 18-0 advantage on second-chance points in the frame.
Butler outscored Penn, 20-2, in the paint in the first half.
The Bulldogs took 21 free throws to the Quakers' six, converting 16 to Penn's 5.
Butler is now 2-0 all-time against Penn. In the Bulldogs first-ever meeting with the Quakers last season, they walked away with a 63-53 victory at the Palestra in the second round of the College Basketball Invitational.
Still searching for new milestone
Once again, Penn failed to reached the 1,700-win milestone. When they finally do get their next win, the Quakers will be the 11th team to join a club that already includes Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, Temple, St. Johns, UCLA, Notre Dame and Indiana.
It's been awhile ...
Penn's losing streak has now reached five. The Quakers, who haven't won since Nov. 28 at home vs. Binghamton, have dropped 10 of 11.
Butler boasts the second-highest number of wins in its home arena -- Hinkle Fieldhouse, which opened in 1928 -- with 818. Penn has the third-highest at the Palestra, which opened in 1927, with 805.
Butler is 6-0 at Hinkle this season and 171-25 at home since the start of the 1999-00 campaign. The Bulldogs have also won their first game in January for eight consecutive seasons.
Penn returns to Philadelphia to face La Salle in its second Big 5 matchup of the season. The Quakers dropped their first Big 5 game of the year, 68-55, to Villanova on Dec. 8, and they haven't beaten the Explorers since the 2006-07 campaign.
Butler is at home again on Saturday, hosting New Orleans at 2 p.m.
E-mail Mike Wisniewski at firstname.lastname@example.org