Butler vs. Morehead State: Quick hits

Bryce Nze drives to the basket during Butler’s 68-50 win over Morehead State on Nov. 22. Photo by Chandler Hart.

CHRIS BROWN | SPORTS EDITOR | cbbrown@butler.edu

The Butler men’s basketball team overcame a slow start, outscoring Morehead State 38-20 in the second half to defeat the Eagles 68-50 on Nov. 22 and improve to 5-0 on the season. Here’s a look at some of the key news, stats, notes and quotes from the victory.

The Bulldogs’ nine turnovers against Morehead State marked the fifth game in a row to start the season that the team has coughed up the ball fewer than 10 times. Through games on Nov. 20, Butler’s 8.0 turnovers per game were tied for the second-best mark in the country. The Bulldogs never had more than two games in a row with fewer than two 10 turnovers last season, and have not had a five-game stretch with fewer than 10 turnovers in each contest since January 2015.

This game marked the first time this season that the Bulldogs did not lead at halftime. After a 30-30 first half, Butler outpaced Morehead State 38-20 in the second half to secure the victory.

Butler head coach LaVall Jordan said Morehead State’s strong defensive play caused problems for the Bulldogs in the first half. “Obviously it was a little sloppy there offensively,” Jordan said. “But again give credit to them. They were going under a lot of screens and making it tough on our guards. They were doubling down on the post. … I thought we adjusted well.”

Bryce Nze’s 16 points mark the fifth time in a row to start the season that the redshirt junior forward has scored in double-digits. Nze had never scored 10 or more points in five straight games in his college career. His previous high was four straight such games, from Jan. 25 to Feb. 2, 2018.

With his 17 points against the Eagles, Kamar Baldwin has now scored 67 points in his last three games – an average of roughly 22 points per game This stretch comes after the senior guard played limited minutes in the Bulldogs’ first two games due to a rib injury.

With tonight’s victory, Butler has now won 55 consecutive nonconference home contests. That mark is second-best in the nation, trailing only Duke.

Butler held Morehead State to just 25% from beyond the arc, marking the fourth time in five games to open the season the Bulldogs have limited their opponents to under 30% on 3-point shots. Through games on Nov. 20, Butler’s opponent 3-point field goal percentage of 23.2% was tied for the 12th-best mark in the country.

Morehead State head coach Preston Spradlin said that Butler applied a great deal of pressure coming out of halftime. “They did a fantastic job of just contesting every shot…pushing the ball and getting out in transition,” Spradlin said. “They did a better job in the second [half] taking care of the ball as well.” The Bulldogs had just three turnovers in the second half.

What’s next: The Bulldogs will continue play in the Hall of Fame Classic when they travel to Kansas City for two games early next week. On Monday, Nov. 25, Butler will square off against the University of Missouri, which is coming off an 18-point win over Morehead State and is 4-1 to start the season.

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