MATTHEW VANTRYON | STAFF REPORTER
Butler began the Brandon Miller Era Saturday night on a high note with an 89-58 home win against Lamar.
The offense picked up where it left off in the team’s exhibition games. The Bulldogs’ (1-0) 89 points is the most in a season opener since the 2000-2001 season when they scored 90 versus Eastern Illinois.
Senior forward Khyle Marshall stole the show, netting 19 points and dominating the boards with 13 rebounds.
Marshall said that he is looking to increase his effort and intensity this season.
“It’s now or never,” Marshall said. “It’s my last go-around, so I’ve got to give it all I’ve got.”
Miller said the leadership of seniors Marshall and Erik Fromm is beneficial, especially to the younger players on the squad.
“They have the experience, night in and night out, of being able to compete at a really high level,” Miller said. “They’ve taken their experiences and passed that down the best they can, and have taken a leadership role from day one and passed that on to the rest of the team.”
Junior forward Kameron Woods also impressed, scoring 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Lamar proved to be a handful at the start, as the lead changed eight times in the first half. Butler struggled from behind the arc, shooting 2-12 in the opening period.
Noticeably absent was the presence of sophomore guard Kellen Dunham. Dunham managed only two points in the opening half.
The second half was a different story for the Bulldogs, as they were able to take advantage of opportunities on the inside. Butler scored 62 in the paint, while limiting Lamar to 22.
The Bulldogs held the visiting Cardinals to only nine field goals in the second half.
Miller said he noticed the defensive improvement.
“I thought as the game went along, we made some adjustments,” Miller said. “Guys came out in the second half, played better on the defensive end of the floor, and that got our offense jumpstarted.”
Butler dominated the offensive glass in the second half, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs were able to capitalize, scoring sixteen second-chance points in the half.
Despite the team’s offensive success in the early going, junior guard Jackson Aldridge said that defense remains a top priority.
“Everyone’s having fun right now, but we need to continue to make sure that we have a defensive mindset,” Aldridge said.
Butler has now won 15 consecutive season openers.
The Bulldogs’ next contest is Nov. 16 versus Princeton. Tip-off at Hinkle Fieldhouse is at 8 p.m.