Butler MBB Opens Season with 80-47 Win Over IUPUI
Down to six healthy bodies for the final 35 minutes of the game, Butler rolled to a convincing 80-47 win over IUPUI in Wednesday night’s season opener at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Senior Sean McDermott led the Bulldogs with 26 points. He went 10-of-11 from the field, making four of his five attempts from behind the arc.
With four players out due to injury or illness prior to tip, and Jordan Tucker serving a one-game NCAA suspension, Butler hoped to play seven players in the contest. But Kamar Baldwin and Campbell Donovan left the game with injuries in the opening minutes. That pressed freshman post John-Michael Mulloy into action. The staff hoped to get through the contest without playing the freshman to keep the possibility of a redshirt open.
“We came in short-handed, but that happens in sports,” said Butler coach LaVall Jordan. “I’m incredibly proud of the fight. We had a chance to get better during the game and to embrace adjustments. Mainly because we had to play through them; there was no one to sub in when you made a mistake. And I’m really proud of Sean’s leadership. His voice has been even bigger to us than the baskets he’s making.”
Butler shot 59 percent for the game, and utilized 50 points in the paint. Bryce Nze and Bryce Golden each made the first start of their respective Butler careers. Nze responded with a double-double (11 points and 11 rebounds). Golden posted career-bests of 17 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Khalif Battle had 11 points in his Bulldog debut.
Aaron Thompson, playing all 40 minutes, had eight points and nine assists. He orchestrated the Butler offense well, as the team even played a stretch with three posts in the game, as the Bulldogs committed only nine turnovers.
As Butler wore down late in the first half, IUPUI was able to trim the lead to eight before a Butler basket gave the Bulldogs a 36-26 halftime lead. Butler then opened the second half on an 18-2 run to take a 54-28 lead with 13:50 remaining. That lead would grow north of 30 shortly thereafter.
Butler’s defense limited IUPUI to 37-percent shooting. Marcus Burk was the only Jaguar in double figures with 17 points, but he needed 21 shots to get there.
Mulloy had four points and four rebounds in 18 minutes of action.
The Bulldogs return to action Saturday night, hosting New Orleans as part of Family Weekend on the Butler campus.