Sophomore guard Jayden Taylor rises for a shot attempt against Marquette on Feb. 28. Photo by Lauren Gdowski.
KOBE MOSLEY | MANAGING EDITOR | email@example.com
In their final home game of the 2022-23 season, the Butler men’s basketball team lost 72-56 to the sixth-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles. With the loss, Butler falls to 14-16 overall and 6-13 in conference play. The Dawgs also have secured their third straight losing season. Marquette, on the other hand, clinched the Big East regular season title outright with the win.
Sophomore guard Jayden Taylor scored a team-high 13 points. Senior forward/center Jalen Thomas added 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Graduate center Manny Bates ended with nine points, four rebounds and two blocks in his return from injury. Graduate guard Eric Hunter Jr., the only player recognized for Senior Night, failed to make the shot in 31 minutes of play.
Nine different players made a field goal for the Golden Eagles. Guard Tyler Kolek led all scorers with 21 points to go along with 10 assists — his second straight double-double. Forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 14 points and forward Oso Ighodaro finished with 12 points on 6-8 shooting from the field. Marquette finished with 44 points in the paint, 20 more than Butler.
Let’s go beyond the box score on a game that Butler will look to forget quickly before they finish the regular season.
Another poor shooting night
In a game where their opponent shot 2-13 from three-point range in the first half and at one point was 6-17 from the field, Butler met Marquette’s poor shooting with more poor shooting. At the under-eight timeout, the Bulldogs had only made four field goals and Marquette had six. The Golden Eagles would then go on a 7-0 run and end their poor shooting slump. Butler, however, would only make four more shots in the half. Despite shooting a respectable 46% in the second half, the damage had already been done.
Going on scoring droughts has been a problem all season — and even before head coach Thad Matta arrived. The root of the issue is multiple things: the lack of a go-to scorer, the inability to get the ball inside to Bates, too much dribbling late in the shot clock, multiple turnovers, the list can go on. As this season winds down, it will be important to watch how Matta addresses this problem. If it isn’t, the Bulldogs will continue struggling in a competitive Big East.
The announcement that senior guard/forward Ali Ali would miss this game due to concussion symptoms is a perfect example of just how badly Butler has been bit by the injury bug. Starting even before the season started, the roster has been changed several times due to injuries. Ali, Thomas, Bates and junior guard Chuck Harris have all missed time because of various injuries. Not many excuses can be afforded for some of the performances this season, but having to constantly change lineups is a valid explanation for why this team hasn’t been able to fully gel.
Butler’s final regular season game will be on March 4 at 7 p.m. against conference rival and 19th-ranked Xavier. The Bulldogs narrowly defeated the Musketeers in Hinkle Fieldhouse on Feb. 10, so Xavier will surely be looking for revenge on their home floor.
Following that game, Butler will head to New York City to compete in the Big East tournament. As the nine-seed, their first game will be on March 8 at 3 p.m. against the eighth-seeded St. John’s Red Storm. If the Bulldogs win, they will face No.1 seeded Marquette for the third time this season on March 9 at noon.