Men’s basketball: team extends win streak in Clarke’s absence

The Butler men’s basketball team extended its winning streak to 12 games after a 62-47 win over Richmond Wednesday night.

The Bulldogs (15-2, 3-0) were not hindered by the absence of senior guard Rotnei Clarke who sprained his neck in Saturday’s game against Dayton.

“We had to focus on the game, and I didn’t have any question that we would do that,” coach Brad Stevens said. “Sometimes when you lose a guy, it heightens your focus a little bit.”

Freshman guard Kellen Dunham started in Clarke’s place and scored 11 points in 31 minutes.

Without Clarke’s outside shooting, Butler was able to exploit the Spiders’ (11-7, 1-2) defenders inside and did so successfully.

Richmond was significantly out-rebounded by Butler, with the Bulldogs grabbing 53 rebounds to Richmond’s 20.

20 of Butler’s 53 rebounds were grabbed off the offensive glass.

Senior center Andrew Smith took advantage of the team’s inside presence and scored a game-high 15 points and added seven rebounds.

“Without Rotnei, we lose one of our shooters, so we focused on going inside a little bit more,” Smith said. “But it doesn’t really change what we did a whole lot.”

The Bulldogs held the Spiders to just 21 first half points and 28.6 percent shooting from the field as Butler pulled out to a 33-21 halftime lead.

Richmond was down by as many as 20 points in the second half before making a brief 9-0 run to cut the lead to nine with 8:23 remaining.

However, this offensive burst came too little too late for the Spiders as Butler’s defense held Richmond to a season-low 47 points and a season-low field goal percentage of 32.7 percent.

Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones led the team with 12 rebounds and also scored 10 points on the way to recording a double double.

Sophomore forward Kameron Woods scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds in the win.

Sophomore guard Alex Barlow spent much of the game playing point guard in Clarke’s absence and finished the game with five points and five rebounds.

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