Butler returned to Hinkle Fieldhouse today and got back to regular nonconference play action as they took on the Saint Louis Billikens. The 3-3 Billikens came with a notable win against Virginia Tech a couple of weeks ago but losing their last three games while Butler had a two-game winning streak coming off that huge win against Ohio State in the PK80.
Butler started the game off strong and dominated throughout the first half taking a commanding 42-13 lead into the half. As a little side note: Saint Louis had the same amount of turnovers as points in the first half. Paul Jorgensen was responsible for three steals while he also drained three of his six attempted threes. In the second half, the turnovers reduced as SLU finished with 17 while Butler had 13.
Offensively, the Billikens were challenged throughout the game and looked not very confident, though they did get some points toward the end of the game. But by that time, it was too late. Junior guard Javon Bess had 22 of the 45 Saint Louis points and also chipped in with ten rebounds of the team’s 26. Other than him, nobody could get anything going offensively, and that showed in the final score.
Butler came out blazing shooting 49 percent as a team from the floor which is a massive improvement from previous games. Also, the team shot 79 percent from the line which again is an improvement that coach Jordan wanted to see throughout the season. Kelan Martin was the star of the show scoring 20 while grabbing 12 boards and went 4-4 from the free throw line.
Kamar Baldwin also had a very productive game shooting 50 percent from the floor, scoring 14 points, but also added four rebounds, three assists and a block. The only area that still calls for improvement is the shooting from behind the arc. The Bulldogs shot 36% from three which is not yet good enough.
Although Butler is a team that values going to the rim and scoring that way, they need to be better from three. Right now it is either poor shot selection or just open misses which are the problem. Overall, the Bulldogs seemed very comfortable in this game. The win brings Butler to a 6-2 overall record and a 4-0 home record.
Next, the Dawgs will take on Utah at Hinkle on Tuesday, December 5th. The two teams met last year at Utah, and the Bulldogs came out on top 68-59. Then Utah star forward Kyle Kuzma, who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers enjoying an excellent start to his rookie season, had 21 points and ten rebounds against Butler.
This year, the 5-1 Utes will visit Hinkle hoping for revenge for last year’s game. Butler played a great game and should stick to the same game plan as today, playing solid defense, creating turnovers and capitalizing on them while continuing to make free throws. It should be an exciting game on Tuesday night between these two teams as conference play comes closer and closer.