Balance key in Bulldogs’ rout

Four players scored in double digits Wednesday night as the Butler men’s basketball team defeated St. Bonaventure 77-58.

Rotnei Clarke racked up 17 points against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday. | Photo by Heather Iwinski

Rotnei Clarke led the way with 17 points, Andrew Smith had 13. Chase Stigall and Khyle Marshall each added 12.

The balanced attack set the tone early in the first half as the scoring was spread out between seven different Bulldogs. Nine players ended up scoring for Butler (19-4, 6-2 Atlantic 10).

Butler head coach Brad Stevens said Stigall was important in starting the Bulldogs’ balanced attack.

“It was going back and forth, and Chase goes and hits a couple threes, now at least we have a little rhythm, even though we’re not guarding great,” Stevens said.

Stigall, off the bench, opened the game 3-for-3 from behind the three-point line.

The Bulldogs finished 11-for-26 from distance, tying their second highest total of the season.

Stigall said he’s pleased with the performance, but knows the game is more than three-pointers.

“Everybody knows that I’m there for more than just threes,” Stigall said. “I’m there for defensive energy and I try to help lead.”

Butler finished with 28 bench points.

Demitrius Conger was the only player in double figures for the Bonnies (10-11, 3-5), finishing with 18 points. Conger was 5-for-6 from the field and 7-for-8 at the free throw line.

The Bulldogs used a 27-8 run spanning the end of the first half and the first 7:00 of the second half to take control of the game.

During that run in the second half Marshall threw down a one-handed alley-oop from Roosevelt Jones to spark the team. The pass looked like it would sail out of bounds, but he was able to put it home for the finish.

“To be honest, it really wasn’t that great of a pass,” Marshall said as he laughed. “I just caught it and threw it down, praying it was going to go in, and then I heard the crowd roaring.”

Jones later left the with a shoulder injury. Stevens said trainers didn’t want to put him back in the game for precautionary reasons but consider him to be “possible” for Saturday’s game at George Washington.

“We’re not going to practice too hard over the next two days, so we probably won’t know until doctors give him clearance on Friday,” Stevens said.

A Hinkle crowd of just over 6,500 rose to its feet when Erik Fromm entered the game early in the first half. Fromm’s father passed away last Saturday before Butler’s game against Rhode Island.

“He’s been through a lot of tough things,” Stevens said. “He’s got a lot of support in his community, he’s got support in our school, he’s got support in our fans, and he certainly has support in our team.”

The crowd rose again in the second half when Fromm hit a three-pointer, his only points of the game.

Butler is now in a three-way tie for first place in the A-10 with VCU and St. Louis heading into Saturday’s game with George Washington.

The Colonials are 11-10 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

The other top two teams are on the road Saturday as VCU travels to Charlotte and St. Louis faces Richmond.

Tip-off is at 2 p.m. from Washington D.C. for the Bulldogs.