Senior center Jalen Thomas recorded a double-double in the win against Buffalo on Dec. 5. Photo by Andrew Buckley.
SARAH HOHMAN | SPORTS EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
Butler pulled off a 72-59 win over Buffalo after a near blown lead.
The game was slow for both teams in the first half. Butler did not get the start on offense that they had hoped for. The Dawgs were 14-31 from the field and 3-11 from three. Butler came out of the locker room more energetic in the second half but nearly blew a 24 point lead with less than five minutes to play.
A positive from this game was senior center Jalen Thomas’s performance. The rotation of bigs has been a continuous question for the Bulldogs. Thomas showed his ability with 18 points and 10 rebounds on the night to complete a double-double.
“We have got to have a post presence,” head coach Thad Matta said. “The other night it was Andre [Screen]. Andre had a heck of a post presence, but I think that kind of tells you the tale of this basketball team. Everybody’s got to do their job every single night we play.”
Besides that, there was not much going in the Bulldogs’ favor. The team was 5-24 from three, shooting 20.8%. They shot 15.4% in the second half. A big part of this was senior guard DJ Davis, who just did not have it going for him. He scored two points on 1-7 field goal shooting and 0-5 three point shooting.
Despite this, Butler grabbed a win from a scrappy Buffalo team and proved they are capable of fighting back even on the tough nights.
“We needed that game because coming off that game everyone was high on us,” Thomas said. “We needed that to humble us. We were not ready to play tonight … Credit to them. They were scrappy and played harder than us.”
The Bulls outhustled the Dawgs
Butler was up 24 with just over 14 minutes to go in the second half. Buffalo got it down to five with just over three minutes left in the game. A big part of the comeback was the Bulls defense, who blocked 10 of Butler’s shots on the night.
The Dawgs limited Buffalo to 0-14 shooting from three until just under the 13 minute mark in the second half. After that, the Bulls hit five more threes and ended up with a higher shooting percentage from three than Butler.
“You have games like this, especially early on in the season,” Matta said. “I told the guys, ‘We have got to learn from this. We have got to put our hard hats back on. We got to go back to work and get better.’ We learned a great lesson tonight, in a win, but this was not acceptable for how we want this basketball team to win and for how they want to play.”
Butler will look to take the things they learned from this game and apply them to their next matchup on Saturday, Dec. 9 against California at Hinkle Fieldhouse.