Behind stellar guard play and great frontcourt play to match it, #15 Butler cruised to a nice 19-point, 68-49 home victory over Duquesne on Tuesday, February 19 in Indianapolis.
Alex Barlow's three, along with a layup by Khyle Marshall and Andrew Smith free throw and Butler was up 6-0 just like that.
The Bulldogs put this Atlantic 10 game to bed quicker than the visiting Dukes thought. Surprisingly, Duquesne is one of the better three-point shooting squads in the A-10 and Butler's defense held them to just 5-of-21 (24%) from outside the arc. A combination of four different Dawgs lit up the nets from three for a 10-for-21 (47%) performance as a team. Clarke (4), Dunham (3), Barlow (2) and Smith were pretty dialed in from long range, which kept the lead growing more and more for Butler.
Butler shot made 7 of its 14 three-point attempts in the first half to build a 36-22 cushion after 20 minutes.
Junior Khyle Marshall took over in the second half, dropping down 10 of his 14 points in the final twenty. Another staggering stat is that Butler is 14-0 when Marshall scores 10 or more points in a game. It should be interesting to see what kind of role he'll play as the regular season wraps up and the A-10 and NCAA Tournaments start.
The scoring trio of Marshall, Dunham and guard Rotnei Clarke were enough to take Duquesne right out of their game plan. The three got together to shoot 15-of-28, including 7-13 from three by Clarke and Dunham, to make up for 41 of Butler's 68.
Spreading out the offense. That's one thing that Butler does best and it doesn't seem to matter who does the scoring, as long as it gets done.
Defensively, Butler was a completely different team than the one that narrowly escaped (68-63) the Bronx, New York last Saturday at Fordham. The Bulldogs were all over the Dukes keeping Duquesne to just 37% overall shooting (19-51).
Out-rebounding Duquesne 36-28, Andrew Smith (10), Roosevelt Jones (8), Alex Barlow (7) and Kameron Woods (4) as quartet grabbed more rebounds than the Dukes.
Just 4:28 into the second half, Marshall connected on a layup and free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play to give Butler a 45-25 lead. The Bulldogs kept at that much of a distance and beat Duquesne going away, 68-49.
Duquesne was only able to get one player into double-figures with Derrick Colter scoring a team-high 11 points on 3-of-6 three-point shooting. Jerry and Jeremiah Jones each had 9 for the Dukes.
Clarke led Butler with a game-high 16 points on 5-11 shooting, including 4-of-8 on his three's, while Marshall had 14 on 6-9 field goals. Off the Bulldogs' bench, freshman Kellen Dunham scored 11 on 3-for-5 from beyond-the-arc. Andrew Smith scored 8 to go with his 10 points. Rose Jones spread the wealth with six points, 8 boards and five assists and Alex Barlow drilled a couple three's for six points, seven rebounds and a few assists to his credit.
Butler's dominating performance against Duquesne was just a preview of what the Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd hopes to see for Friday night's crucial Atlantic 10 conference showdown against the A-10 leading Saint Louis (20-5, 9-2 A10). SLU put together a dominating performance at home on Tuesday, February 19 by knocking off #24 VCU, 76-62.
The Bulldogs (22-5, 9-3 A10) get the chance to redeem their January loss at Saint Louis (75-58) during Friday night's nationally televised game against the Billikens. ESPNU has the tv coverage for the 7 p.m. tipoff and Hinkle. Butler Bulldog basketball can be heard Friday night in Indianapolis on 93.1-FM WIBC, with the pre-game show starting at 6:30.