Butler basketball vs. Texas: Dawgs pull up lame

Kamar Baldwin takes in his surroundings. Baldwin was one of two Bulldogs to score in the first half against Texas on Nov. 23. Photo by Jimmy Lafakis. 

DANA LEE | SPORTS EDITOR | delee1@butler.edu

Turkey and tryptophan alone couldn’t account for the sluggish start to the Thanksgiving matchup between Butler and Texas. Shooting 24 percent in the first half, Butler walked away with the 61-48 loss in their Phil Knight Invitational debut.

The first half of the game was unkind to both teams, with Butler and Texas both going scoreless first three minutes of play. The slow start contributed to a low scoring game, with Texas leading 22-19 at the half.

After shooting a season-best 57.4 percent from the field in which four players scored at least 16 points against Furman less than a week before, the Bulldogs followed with a less than stellar performance. The last time the program shot under 30 percent was in 2014, a stat the team just managed to avoid by shooting 32 percent from the field.

Shots that normally fall through for Butler seemed to do anything but. Three-pointers, jumpers, fadeaway shots and layups deflected left and right, hit off the rim, went in then bounced out; every miss contributing to a lowly 24 percent from the field. The team made just 19 of 58 total attempts.

Sean McDermott, who entered the game with two consecutive 17-point games under his belt, seemed to be the only Bulldog immune to the scoring virus. The redshirt sophomore scored Butler’s first nine points off of three 3-pointers.

Kamar Baldwin was the first Bulldog outside of McDermott to score, breaking the slump with a layup with less than five minutes in the first half. Baldwin and McDermott would be the only Bulldogs to score in the first twenty minutes of play.

The Texas offense was not much better, shooting at 30 percent for 22 total points before pulling away in the second half for the win. Boosted by improved shooting, the Longhorns grasped their largest lead at 59-48 with 40 seconds left in the game.

Both teams matched for 11 turnovers, but Texas out-rebounded Butler 31-21, and made 12 appearances on the free throw line compared to the Dawgs’ five. Baldwin led with 15 points, followed by Kelan Martin with 12. Martin put Butler within reach twice, using 3-pointers to render the score 43-39 and 45-43 before Texas ran away with the lead. McDermott rounded out the top three Butler scorers with 11 points.

The team will continue tournament play on Nov. 24 against Portland State. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

 

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