Sophomore Jayden Taylor is averaging 18.6 points per game over the last five games. Photo by Claire Runkel.
MATTHEW CRANE | SPORTS CO-EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Butler men’s basketball team will take on the No. 6 Marquette Golden Eagles for their final home game of the season. The Bulldogs are coming off a 59-58 hard-fought win at DePaul and in this matchup will look to secure their second win this season over a ranked opponent. While the Bulldogs are locked into being either the eighth or ninth seed in the upcoming Big East tournament, this game could lead to momentum as the Dawgs attempt to finish out the regular season on a high note.
Here’s what you need to know before tonight’s home finale between the Bulldogs and the Golden Eagles.
Who: Butler vs. Marquette
When: Feb. 28, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
How to watch/listen: FS1/WXNT 1430 AM
Senior Night festivities
With tonight’s game being the home finale, Senior Night will play an important role with a pregame ceremony. It also allows us to take a look at what the team might look like next season. Graduate guard Eric Hunter Jr. will be the only player that will be recognized in the ceremony.
It can be surmised that graduate center Manny Bates, senior forward/center Jalen Thomas and senior guard/forward Ali Ali will all be returning to the team next season. All three players have an extra season of eligibility and would drastically improve Butler’s chances of being competitive next season.
Senior forward/center John-Michael Mulloy also seems likely to return next season despite missing the entire season with an injury. With Thomas, Bates and first-year forward/center Connor Turnbull seemingly all ahead of him in the rotation, it remains to be seen what Mulloy’s impact on the court would even look like.
Scouting the Golden Eagles
The Golden Eagles have an effective offensive attack with four players averaging in double figures. They average 80.8 points per game off of 49.3% shooting from the field. Their leading scorers are sophomore Kam Jones and junior Olivier-Maxence Prosper. Jones and Prosper average 15.2 and 12.5 points per game, respectively.
In the last meeting between the two teams, Prosper and Jones combined to score 18 points as the Bulldogs were able to limit the duo from taking over the game. If the Bulldogs can follow a similar playbook along with better shooting and turning the ball over less than 19 times, they might have the chance to pull off the upset. A big key to the game will be the health of Manny Bates, who was held to just two points in 24 minutes against the Golden Eagles on Feb. 4. Bates’ return to the lineup would do wonders for the offense and vastly improve the Bulldogs’ interior presence. If Bates is unable to play, Thomas and Turnbull will see their minutes increase and will be counted on to provide scoring and rim protection from the frontcourt.