The college basketball season started off with a bang last night at Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Dawgs’ took on the Owls’ of Kennesaw State. The sold-out crowd at Hinkle was excited to see some of the new players, like freshman Aaron Thompson and George Washington transfer Paul Jorgensen, for the first time. The Dawgs’ got off to a good start taking a 25-point lead into half time, dominating the game by creating 17 turnovers, and being very efficient on offense.
The second half started slower with the Owls’ brining the game within ten, but Butler pulled away eventually to win the game 82-64. Senior forward Kelan Martin (who was added to the Naismith Trophy watchlist) had 20 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist in 31 minutes of basketball. Tyler Wideman was also very efficient scoring 13 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. The “Top Dawg” of the night was the transfer junior, Paul Jorgensen. He scored 14 points and dished 4 assists while also getting 4 boards.
While Butler was great in the first half, the second half brought up some questions about defense and free throw shooting. The Dawgs trimmed a 25-point lead to a 10-point lead, often loosing communication and committing unnecessary fouls. Butler shot only 12-of-23 from the line, which will be an area of improvement moving forward.
Kennesaw guard James Scott netted 26 points, he scored 22 of the 26 in the second half. Forward Jordan Jones had 3 points but took 9 rebounds and did a decent job protecting the rim. Overall it was a comfortable game for the Dawgs’ and the first half was a great indication for the season ahead, but if Butler wants to be successful this year they need to be able to play a full game. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot of getting better to do,” Coach Lavall Jordan said after getting his first win as Butler coach. He also addressed that the team needs to communicate better on the defensive end and that the leaders of the team need to speak up more.
It was an exciting first night of college basketball and the Butler faithful are ready for the season. The Dawgs’ are back in action tomorrow (11/12/17) as they take on the Princeton Tigers. Princeton made their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011 coming close to beating the then ranked number 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It will be an interesting game on Sunday with Princeton being known to be very efficient behind the three-point line.