Senior forward Jahmyl Telfort shot 70.5% from the field in the win against Creighton. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics.
SARAH HOHMAN | SPORTS EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dawgs traveled to Omaha, Nebraska and spoiled a Creighton win 99-98 on Friday, Feb. 2.
Before the game, Butler announced that senior guard Posh Alexander would not be playing — sidelined for what appeared to be a foot injury. The guard appeared to have tweaked his ankle against Villanova on Jan. 27.
Without their point guard, the Dawgs started sophomore guard Landon Moore, who held his own, putting up eight points on the night in just over 23 minutes of playing time. Head coach Thad Matta sent in first-year guard Finley Bizjack off the bench for over 24 minutes of playing time as well. The first year put on arguably his best showing as a Bulldog. Bizjack was incredibly effective, shooting 4-6 from the field and 3-3 from behind the arc. His three to end the half cut the Dawgs’ deficit to just four.
The second half was a dogfight. It felt like neither team was missing, but Butler really flipped the momentum. Senior forward Jahmyl Telfort was at the driver’s wheel for the team’s offense. The forward put up 26 points and four assists on the night. He shot 12-17 from the field.
Butler fans held their breath when Telfort went down after a collision to his knee with around 2:30 to play. The forward was down in pain clutching his leg, but shook it off and soon returned into the game and immediately made a 2-pt jump shot.
The Dawgs were not done getting beat up. Senior guard DJ Davis had the ball with six seconds left. Creighton was looking to send him to the foul line, but senior center Ryan Kalkbrenner scratched Davis’ face, drawing blood. The guard could not come back in to shoot the free throws, so the Blue Jays picked first-year forward Boden Kapke to the line. Kapke made both clutch shots to start sealing the game for the Dawgs.
In arguably Butler’s best game this season, let’s go beyond the box score.
On fire from three
It was raining threes on the road. The Dawgs shot 59.1% from three in the win. In a game where Butler was trailing for the majority, this was the key.
The usual guys in Telfort, Davis and junior guard Pierre Brooks were hitting from behind the arc, but it was the young guys off the bench that lit a spark for this team. Bizjack hit the three threes he took and Kapke went 2-3.
A complete team, next man up
Butler has developed a deep rotation with Bizjack, Moore, senior center Andre Screen, Kapke and now even first-year forward Augusto Cassio, who was out with an injury early in the year but played over eight minutes. The Dawgs’ bench outscored the Blue Jay’s 25-4. In an incredibly competitive Big East this year, a team’s depth can prove to be the difference maker.
The ball movement was beautiful, especially for a game without Butler’s starting point guard. The offense only had five turnovers compared to Creighton’s nine. The Dawgs used those turnovers to produce 13 points. The offense created a ton of space, especially because they had the three point shot going.
This was a huge road victory for Butler and another Q1 victory to add to the resume. The next contest only gets harder though. The Dawgs will face off against No. 1 UConn on Tuesday, Feb. 6. The momentum could not be more positive for the Bulldogs right now, so expect a tough battle against the number one team in the country. Don’t count these Dawgs out.