Sophomore guard Jayden Taylor scored 14 points off the bench in the team’s loss to Seton Hall on Jan. 7. Photo by Claire Runkel.
MATTHEW CRANE | SPORTS CO-EDITOR | email@example.com
The Butler men’s basketball team continues their two-game road trip as they tip off against the St. John’s Red Storm. The Bulldogs are coming off a 25-point loss to Seton Hall on Jan. 7 and look to avoid any more losing streaks. St. John’s enters the contest with an 11-6 record and a five-game losing streak. Their most recent game was a hard-fought 83-80 road loss at Providence.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Bulldogs and the Red Storm.
Who: Butler at St. John’s
When: Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Carnesecca Arena; Jamaica, New York
How to watch/listen: FS1/WXNT 1430AM
Where is the offense?
Many people were looking forward to Big East play as the Bulldogs sat at 8-3 and averaged 75 points per game during non-conference play. Unfortunately, conference play has been a disaster on the offensive end of the floor. The team that appeared to have a strong offense has yet to show up outside of the two wins against Georgetown and DePaul.
So far, the team’s scoring average has dropped to 60.5 points per game. That figure is still a number you can win at if you have an elite defensive team — which the Bulldogs do not seem to have. Their opponent’s scoring average is sitting at 69 points per game which is sure to rise with the caliber of opponents coming up on the schedule.
If the Bulldogs can make strides on defense, that would help close the gap. However, the offense is the major sticking point right now and has to be fixed before it is too late. The Dawgs have to find a way to work inside-out by getting Manny Bates the touches to allow him to work inside the paint and potentially kick out to open shooters. As a result, the guys on the perimeter have to hit shots which they have not shown the ability to do on a consistent basis.
Scouting St. John’s
The Red Storm average 79.1 points per game and allow their opponents to score 72.9 points per game. Their leading scorers are senior Joel Soriano and junior David Jones who average 16.2 and 13.9 points per game, respectively. Soriano has 14 double-doubles on the season, so Bates and the other bigs will have to work to try to keep him off the glass.
St. John’s has six guys that average at least 20 minutes per game and they rely on those six for their scoring. Two other players to keep an eye on are junior guards Andre Curbelo and Posh Alexander. Both are playmaking guards that look to involve their teammates. Curbelo averages 5.1 assists per game while Alexander sits at 4.3 assists per game. That duo also helps the Red Storm pick up steals with the team averaging 8.9 steals per game. It will be imperative for the Butler guards to be strong with the basketball and not allow St. John’s to get out on the fastbreak.