Butler downs North Dakota

MATTHEW VANTRYON | STAFF REPORTER

Butler returned home from their longest road trip of the season to face North Dakota Saturday night.

Despite a slow start, the Bulldogs (6-2) picked up the pace offensively and came away with a 79-64 win to snap their two-game losing streak.

Sophomore guard Kellen Dunham led the Bulldogs with a game-high 29 points and five three-point baskets.

Dunham has scored 88 points in Butler’s last four games.

Senior forward Khyle Marshall scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Bulldogs struggled out of the gate, shooting just 4-13 in the opening minutes. However, North Dakota (2-4) struggled just as mightily. The visitors shot 8-27 in the first half, including just 2-11 from deep.

Dunham scored 19 points and hit 3-5 from three-point range in the opening half.

Butler finished the half on an 18-2 run.

Dunham hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Butler a 39-22 lead going into halftime.

Marshall said Dunham’s ability to change the course of the game provides a spark to the whole team.

“If we’re in a slump, we have a guy like Kellen to knock down a big shot and get our energy back,” Marshall said.

Butler dominated the boards in the first half, outrebounding North Dakota 25-11. Butler outrebounded the visitors 36-23 in the contest.

Butler continued its offensive dominance at the beginning of the second half, going on a 13-2 run and widening their lead to as many as 30 points.

The Bulldogs outscored North Dakota 28-4 from the 4:41 mark in the first half to midway through the second half.

North Dakota trimmed the deficit as Butler’s bench got some quality minutes, but the starters reentered and were able to put the game away.

North Dakota’s bench outscored Butler’s bench 25-14.

However, Butler coach Brandon Miller said points don’t tell the whole story.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean our bench didn’t play well if we don’t score points,” Miller said. “We all have roles and we all add to the game in our own way. Kellen and Khyle put points on the board, but we had a number of guys who played well and did what they needed to do.”

Butler shot 52 percent from the floor in the contest. North Dakota shot 38 percent.

Butler had trouble controlling the basketball as the Bulldogs committed 17 turnovers in the game. Butler came into the game averaging 8.4 turnovers per game.

Senior guard Troy Huff scored a team-high 20 points for North Dakota.

Butler will host Division III Manchester on Monday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.

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