The Butler men’s basketball team finished exhibition play on Thursday, easily defeating the Hanover Panthers, 80-41.
Junior guard Shelvin Mack led the Bulldogs in scoring with 13 points and senior forward Matt Howard contributed a double-double on 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the team to the victory.
The points came early and often for the Bulldogs. Howard put Butler on the scoreboard within the game’s first 15 seconds. From then on, the Bulldogs never trailed. Butler hit its first six shots of the contest and built a 13-3 lead.
“It’s a credit to them the way they came out to play against a small college team,” Hanover head coach Jon Miller said. “I thought their energy level was really good.”
In the same fashion as the first exhibition game, Butler head coach Brad Stevens played all 14 men on the roster. Howard was the only Bulldog to play more than 19 minutes.
“A lot of guys got a lot of minutes and a lot of experience,” Stevens said. “There is a lot of film to teach from and that’s the goal of exhibition games.”
After the Bulldogs allowed 70 points to Florida Southern in the first exhibition game, junior Ronald Nored said they needed to improve defensively.
Butler did just that versus Hanover, limiting the Panthers to 20.7 percent field goal shooting and only 21 points in the first half.
The Bulldogs also forced 11 turnovers throughout the game.
Freshman forward Khyle Marshall came off the bench to add 11 points and six rebounds.
Fellow freshman Erik Fromm scored eight.
One of Butler’s largest advantages in the contest came from points in the paint where the Bulldogs outscored the Panthers by a 48-12 margin.
Butler’s bench also ended the game with a solid showing, outscoring the Hanover bench 42-22.
Hanover’s roster featured many players from the central Indiana region and, despite the outcome, Hanover senior Mitchell Meyer recognized what an opportunity it was to play Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“As a senior, it’s the one time I’ve played in front of a crowd like this,” Meyer said. “It’s something that I’ll cherish forever.”
With a comfortable lead and the game decided, Butler’s student section added some humor to the festivities.
Freshman guard Crishawn Hopkins turned 20 the day of the game.
As he stood at the top of the key during a Hanover free throw, the Dawg Pound directed and sang a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Hopkins.
The Bulldogs will host the Knights of Marian this Saturday at Hinkle for their regular season opener.
According to the Marian University men’s basketball Web page, the Knights are a team that rely heavily on guard play and return their top three scorers from last season—senior Jordan Tucker, junior Alex Sylvester and senior Anthony Furlin.
Tucker averaged almost 16 points per game during the 2009- 10 season.
Redshirt sophomore John Lickliter, son of former Butler head coach Todd Lickliter, is joining the Knights after spending two years on the Iowa University basketball squad.
Marian was winless in exhibition play, suffering losses to Notre Dame and IUPUI. In those losses, the Knights were outscored by a total of 64 points.
Before the 2 p.m. home opener, Butler’s 2010 National Runner-Up banner will be unveiled.