This is the Rotnei Clarke Butler fans have been waiting to see. Clarke’s superb shooting was on display during Saturday’s 74-59 win over Elon in the regular season opener at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Bulldogs were very impressive throughout the game. They played with urgency at the defensive end and took good shots offensively. Clarke finished with 21 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and from three point land.
Freshman Kellen Dunham played 29 minutes in the win and tallied 18 points of his own. He was perfect from the free throw line and also shot 50 percent from the field.
As a team, Butler shot 50 percent from the field and 37 percent from three point territory. There were several electrifying alley-oops—one from Roosevelt Jones to Kameron Woods and another from Jones to Khyle Marshall.
Senior center Andrew Smith was caught up in foul trouble early and was never able to get into the flow of the game. He sat the majority of the first half after picking up two fouls, then most of the second half as he picked up his third and fourth fouls early on. He did not score in the contest but contributed a rebound, an assist and a steal.
An early season matchup on Tuesday with Xavier looms. Butler has shown they can score and play solid defense thus far, but Smith must contribute. The sharp shooting of Clarke and Dunham should open up the paint for Smith, Marshall and others.
Butler fans should be impressed with the way the team played in Saturday’s game, but the team has several areas to improve in before playing Xavier on Tuesday and in the Maui Invitational the following week.