Men’s basketball crashing and burning: Beyond the Box Score

Senior forward Jahmyl Telfort scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists in the loss to Seton Hall. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics


In another game that felt like a must-win for a chance in the NCAA Tournament, Butler lost 76-64 to Seton Hall. 

Butler started off on a horrible note. The Dawgs were down 13 in only six minutes of play, and a 12-0 run gave Seton Hall an early 16-3 lead at the 12:48 mark of the first half. Butler brought it back to within 10 at half which gave Butler a chance to compete in the second half. Senior center Jalen Thomas led the Bulldogs at the half with 10 points. 

History repeated itself once again. Butler caught up within two with a senior DJ Davis layup with 17:12 left. Although they were within striking distance throughout the second half, they could never catch up. 

In Butler’s fourth-straight loss, let’s go beyond the box score. 

The paint 

Butler was outscored 44-16 in the paint. 

The Dawgs began by relying on the three ball, similar to their game against Creighton

They shot 8-20 at 40% from three, but in early minutes they were only relying on one guy. Senior Posh Alexander was the only starter who scored up until the 9:30 mark in the first half. Besides Alexander, the starters were 0-11 to start the game. 

They couldn’t keep the three up in the second half, making only four more threes, and needed to create some open shots inside. Even when they were open, Butler could not find success down low — a recurring factor lately. 

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers 

Butler’s inability to hold onto the ball digs themselves into a hole every game. In their last five out of six games, the Dawgs have made double-digit turnovers. The Dawgs committed eight turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the game. 

Poor timing and general sloppiness are typically the reason for these turnovers. It never feels like the opponent is creating the takeaway, but more so Butler is giving them away. The Dawgs’ sloppiness proved to be too much for them to be able to climb back from in the second half. 

Team check-in 

The bubble feels like it is popping for the Bulldogs. 

When Butler was playing hot and winning on the road against ranked Big East opponents, it felt like everything was clicking. Starters were performing their roles, making minimal errors and providing energy on the court. When they needed rest, the bench came in and executed, sometimes with more power. 

So let’s begin with the starting lineup. What happened to Pierre Brooks

The junior guard was the star in the beginning of the season, being an offensive weapon that everyone knew would score at least 15 points a night. Now, Brooks is barely putting up five points a night and is throwing up too many off the dribble shots. 

Alexander has obviously been a consistent piece to this Bulldog team. The problem is, he has been ending up with more turnovers than assists lately. Now, much of this has to do with the rest of the team’s shooting percentage, but five assists against Seton Hall for your starting point guard is not a good look. Sophomore guard Landon Moore’s presence off the bench seemed to help, as he threw out four assists compared to one turnover. 

In games with success, first-year guard Finley Bizjack always seems a part of the offense. Against Seton Hall, the guard only shot once from the field and did not shoot from three. The Dawgs win games with the help of their depth. This is what allowed them to beat Creighton and Marquette on the road, so less minutes and less shots from Bizjack is concerning. 

This team has the parts to be successful. If they can show that they can rally and come back from this bad stretch, they have a chance to play more basketball. If they continue what they are doing, expect a first round exit in the Big East Tournament. Butler needs to prove to themselves that they can win again and that starts against St. John’s at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Feb. 28. 


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