Sophomore guard Jayden Taylor has scored in double figures in nine of the team’s 10 games. Photo by Claire Runkel.
SARAH HOHMAN | SPORTS CO-EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Butler men’s basketball team will travel to Berkeley, California to face off against Cal for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs are riding a three-game winning streak with a record of 7-3 after a victory over Yale on Tuesday. This game will close out the non-conference portion of the team’s schedule. Cal sits at 0-10 and will look to find their first victory against the Dawgs. Butler is 15-11 all-time against teams in the Pac-12 conference.
Sophomore forward DJ Hughes and junior forward Myles Wilmoth have been cleared to return. Senior guard/forward Ali Ali, senior forward John-Michael Mulloy and senior forward Jalen Thomas remain out.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Bulldogs and the Golden Bears.
Who: Butler vs. California
When: Dec. 10, 5:00 p.m.
Where: Haas Pavilion; Berkeley, Calif.
How to watch/listen: Pac-12 Network/WXNT 1430AM
Staying consistent from the field
Throughout 10 games this season, Butler has shot 50% or better from the field seven times. The Dawgs hit the 50% mark only six times last season. Nationally, Butler is ranked 20th with the team’s 49.7% average from the field on the season.
Graduate center Manny Bates has played a significant role in these stats. Bates leads the Dawgs by shooting 62.6% from the field. Much of this has to do with his dominance when taking the ball to the hoop. Junior guard Chuck Harris has also consistently shot from the field as well as from three. It has been key for the Dawgs to get off to an early start, especially from the field. When leading at half, Butler is 7-0.
Defense remaining smart and limiting the 3
Over the past seven games, the Dawgs have limited their opponents to 26.9% from the 3-pt line. Five of those seven opponents hit five or less three pointers. Maintaining a strong perimeter defense has allowed the team to preserve and build upon their halftime leads.
The Dawgs are also ranked fourth nationally — committing an average of only 12.1 fouls per game. Staying out of foul trouble has been important — especially with limited depth on the bench due to injuries.
Scouting report for Cal
Injuries have consumed Cal’s 0-10 start to the season. Seven of Cal’s 13 scholarship players have missed a majority of their games this season.
Leading scorer for the Golden Bears, junior guard Devin Askew and first-year forward ND Okafor missed their last game due to health and safety protocols and are questionable for this game as well. Expected starters junior guard Jalen Celestine and graduate guard DeJuan Clayton have yet to play this season.
If Askew is cleared for the game, he will be a key player to watch. The junior guard is the only Pac-12 player averaging 18 points, three rebounds and three assists per game. Senior center Lars Thiemann is a player to watch in the paint and on the glass as he averages 13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Slowing him down can give the Dawgs more opportunities for second chance points.