The Butler Bulldogs basketball team improved to 2-0 this week. After cruising to victory in their season opener, Princeton gave Butler all they could handle.
The Bulldogs held off a furious late game rally by Tigers to get the narrow 70-67 victory. Kellen Dunham led all scorers with 26 points. He also had six rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Butler was lucky that Princeton didn’t shoot better than 62-percent from the free throw, despite having 37 attempts. The Tigers had multiple chances to force overtime late in the game.
The Bulldogs were outrebounded by the Tigers and rank 220th nationally in rebounding. They’re also struggling to share the ball with just 11 assists per game. This is where they miss Roosevelt Jones, who averaged nearly four assists per game last season.
Butler has been shooting the ball well through two games, hitting 49-percent from the field. Where the Bulldogs are struggling is three-point shooting, connecting on just 31-percent of their shots from the arc.
Pomeroy has the Bulldogs ranked 58th in the country with the 89th offense and the 40th best defense.
Nov. 19th – Butler vs Vanderbilt, 6pm
The Commodores enter Tuesday night’s game at 2-0. They beat Georgia State by just six points in their season opener, and Lipscomb by 11. Senior forward Rod Odom leads the team with 19.5 points per game and can light it up from the field. He’s hitting 59-percent of his shots, including an unreal 64-percent from the three point line (and taking at least seven three’s per game). Vanderbilt isn’t a very deep team, only nine players have gotten minutes so far this season. While they may not be deep, they have gotten big points out of their bench and its not the same player each time.
These two teams met last season with Butler coming away with a 19-point victory following a dominant second half. The Bulldogs managed to hold Odom to just four points last season and the team shot just 33-percent. The Bulldogs have struggled to find consistent offense and on the boards. Butler held a 39-24 rebounding advantage in the last meeting, and will need a similar result to pull off a win. Vanderbilt is shooting the ball a lot better this season, and Butler will have to continue to play tight defense to pull out the win. Pomeroy has them as the 74th ranked team in the country.
At home, Butler should win this game, but it might be a close one.
Nov. 23rd – Butler at Ball State, 2pm
Ball State sits at 1-1, and will face Southeastern Missouri State on Monday before hosting Butler on Saturday. The Cardinals lost to Indiana State in their season opener, a team that most recently upset Notre Dame. They rebounded to defeat Taylor by 20 a few nights later. The Cardinals are not a very good team. They’re currently 232nd in the Pomeroy rankings.
The two teams met last season with Butler winning by 14. The two teams were tied at the half, but Butler’s smothering defense clamped down in the second to lead the Bulldogs to victory.
Even on the road, this should be an easy win for the Bulldogs.
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