Men’s basketball vs. Davenport: What you need to know

Junior guard Chuck Harris follows a Tiffin player down the court on Oct. 29. Harris was named preseason All Big-East honorable mention. Photo by Lauren Hough.


For their final exhibition game this season, the Butler men’s basketball team will take on the Division II Davenport Panthers. After finally getting the chance to play another team for the first time since the summer, the Dawgs have a list of areas they want to improve on before their regular season debut against New Orleans on Nov. 7. 

Here’s what you need to know for Butler’s second and final exhibition game this season.


Who: Butler vs. Davenport

When: Nov. 1, 7 p.m.

Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse

How to watch/listen: WXNT 1430AM


Working on the fundamentals

As basic as it sounds, fundamentals were the difference in the Bulldogs’ 75-65 win over Tiffin being by 10 points instead of 20 points. Butler struggled from the free throw line and the three-point line — areas they ranked near the bottom of the Big East in last season. Against Tiffin on Oct. 29, the Bulldogs shot 28.6% from three and 50% from the free-throw line. Those numbers aren’t going to cut it, and being more consistent is something that head coach Thad Matta will surely expect from his team in this matchup.

Defensively, Butler did do a good job at forcing Tiffin to take bad shots and make careless turnovers. In the first half, the Dragons shot 34.5% from the field and committed nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes. However, Butler lacked some discipline on the defensive end in the second half, allowing Tiffin to stay in the game. The Dragons scored 40 points in the half and shot 50% from the field. The Bulldogs have too much talent and size on their end to allow that much offense.

We can chalk up most of those miscues to be things that will inevitably go wrong in the first game of the season. There were flashes of how good this team can look on both sides — which was great to see given two important pieces in senior guard Ali Ali and senior forward/center Jalen Thomas are out with injuries. Expect to see those flashes turn into runs for the Dawgs in this outing.


Will we see a change in the rotation?

Given the fact that it is still super early in the season and Matta has a lot more to see from his team, it’s expected that there will be a deep rotation in this game as well. Every active player on the team saw the court against Tiffin, and that will probably be the case in this one too.

Even though sophomore guard Jayden Taylor started against Tiffin, he only played 14 minutes. Junior guard Myles Tate and sophomore guard/forward Simas Lukosius both played substantial minutes off the bench — 19 and 26 minutes, respectively. Though it wouldn’t come as a surprise, this doesn’t automatically mean that Tate or Lukosius will be in the starting lineup against Davenport. When all goes right, Taylor will be a scoring 3-man with the starters, with Tate and Lukosius providing a lethal one-two punch off the bench. If this is the reasoning behind Matta’s lineup against Tiffin, then he will probably want to run it back in this one to see it work with more efficiency. Starting against Davenport will likely once again be graduate student guard Eric Hunter Jr.,  junior guard Chuck Harris, Taylor, junior forward Myles Wilmoth, and graduate student center Manny Bates. Bates had a nice game against Tiffin — 16 points and eight rebounds — but expect him to be even more involved offensively in this one.


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