Junior forward Pierre Brooks scored 17 points against Buffalo on Dec. 5. Photo by Andrew Buckley.
CALEB DENORME | ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
The men’s basketball team takes the court on Dec. 9 in Hinkle Fieldhouse against Pac-12 opponent California looking to improve to 8-2 on the year. This is the third straight home game for the Dawgs.
The Bulldogs are coming off an unconvincing victory over a 1-8 Buffalo squad where they beat the Bulls 72-59. Butler would take the win, but the team struggled in portions of the match against one of the worst teams in the nation.
The Dawgs will now prepare to take on the 3-5 Golden Bears, who will pose a tougher threat than Buffalo.
Here is what you need to know as Butler hosts Cal.
Who: Butler vs. California
When: Dec. 9, 12 p.m.
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
How to watch/listen: FS1, WXNT 1430 AM
Bouncing back after a tough outing
Butler’s game against Buffalo was a tough game to watch from a Bulldog perspective.
Both teams were cold on the offensive end to start out the game, but started to find their rhythm later in the first half. The Bulldogs got out to a narrow lead and just kept the Bulls at arms length to go into the half up nine points.
In the second half, the Dawgs jumped out to a 24 point lead. The offense was clicking on all cylinders and the defense limited Buffalo to just five points in the first six minutes of the half. From there it went downhill, as Butler allowed the Bulls to chisel their lead to only five points with three and a half minutes to go.
The Dawgs shot only 44.8% from the field and 20.8% from three against a team that is ranked 354th out of 362 Division I teams. A narrow win against inferior competition is not going to cut it in the long run for the Bulldogs. They will need a better performance if they want to beat a more competitive Cal.
California scouting report
The Golden Bears are a member of the Pac-12 conference and sit at 3-5 on the year. Three out of their five losses on the season were only by three points. Their most recent game was against last year’s NCAA runner up San Diego State, who they lost to by nine points in overtime.
Last season Cal was 3-29 and lost to Butler 82-58 at home. All five starters in that game for the Bulldogs scored in double digits, although none of them remain on this season’s roster. Sophomore forward Connor Turnbull is the only current Dawg who played in that game. He totaled three minutes on the night.
The player to watch for California is junior guard Jaylon Tyson. The 6’7” Texas Tech transfer is averaging 20.4 points per game on 47.1% shooting. Tyson’s size and ability to shoot from beyond the arc will give Butler defenders a handful to deal with. The Bulldogs had trouble keeping tabs on the guards for Buffalo, so this matchup is one to watch.
Another contributor for the Golden Bears is sixth year forward Fardaws Aimaq. The 6’11” Canadian averages 16.5 points and ten rebounds per game. He has only made four three pointers all year, so expect him to do most of his work in the paint. Aimaq spent time at Mercer and Utah Valley before transferring to Texas Tech last year. At TTU he appeared in only 11 games due to injury.
Cal will prove to be a tougher game than Buffalo, so the Bulldogs better come prepared. This is a bounce back game for Butler, looking to improve on their record before they head into Big East play.