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The Youngstown State Penguins may have brought the snow to Indianapolis, but ultimately their shots went cold in Hinkle Fieldhouse. In a matchup between former Horizon League opponents, Butler handed Youngstown their sixth-straight loss. Meanwhile, the 95-67 win pushed the Bulldogs’ season record to 8-2 and nonconference home record to 41-0.
“We had stretches where we looked like the team we want to be,” head coach LaVall Jordan said.
Led by Kamar Baldwin with a season-high 19 points, five Bulldogs posted points in the double figures, and several reached season or career-highs as the bench recorded 36 points in the win. Kelan Martin and Paul Jorgensen contributed 15 points each. The Youngstown game marks the fifth consecutive game Jorgensen has tallied double digit numbers, a first in his career.
— FOX Sports Indiana (@FSIndiana) December 9, 2017
Jordan elected to start Martin, Baldwin, Aaron Thompson, Jorgenson and Tyler Wideman. First used against St. Louis to make up for the loss of Sean McDermott, the combination has now played in three straight wins.
“Offensively, we’ve made a ton of progress since Portland,” Jordan said. “Our pace has gotten better, our guys have more opportunities, the ball is moving from side-to-side even more than it had been earlier. That happens over time, I think the trust levels are growing amongst the group.”
Outside of the first minute, the Bulldogs held a consistent lead throughout the game and never looked back on their way to a halftime score of 48-23. The biggest lead of the game was a 35-point spread in the second half.
Bulldogs with the victory over the Penguins. Kamar Baldwin had 19 points for the Dawgs. pic.twitter.com/okPnYg1v6r
— Butler Basketball (@ButlerMBB) December 9, 2017
Youngstown opted for a full-court press throughout the game, which was aptly dismantled by Butler, who capitalized on 20 Youngstown turnovers for 25 points. The team would not be charged with a foul until the final five minutes of play in the first half.
The Bulldogs shot 57 percent from the field, which only improved to 60 percent in the last half.
With a significant second-half lead, Jordan was able to put all five freshmen on the floor in the remaining five minutes. Joey Brunk,who was recently granted a redshirt year, collected a career-high seven rebounds in just 12 minutes of play to lead the team. Christian David led the freshman class with 10 points, going 5-for-5 from the field.
“I think we’re getting a lot better and we’re trying to put together a full 40 minutes defensively,” David said.
“Give Christian a lot of credit,” Jordan said. “He lets me coach him hard, he embraces the process, and I’ve seen him grow, especially on the defensive end on things.”
Regarding the team’s upcoming schedule, the coach said academics and finals week is where the team’s focus is currently, and will use Monday and Tuesday as rest days.
“Our next opponent right now is the classroom,” Jordan said. “They have tests, presentations, and it’s a heavy load so we want to make sure they’re doing well in there.”
Post-final exams, Butler will take on Purdue as part of the annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 16.