Game Recap: Butler 89, Lamar 58

USA TODAY Sports

Butler shook off cold shooting in the first-half to start off the regular season with a win against Lamar.

Butler starting five- Barlow/Dunham/Marshall/Woods/Fromm

Four factors

69 possessions* Butler Lamar
Effective FG% 57.1% 44.6%
Turnover % 7.2% 18.8%
Offensive Rebound % 37.8% 12.9%
FTA/FGA 27.1 23.2

*StatSheet is down tonight for some reason, so these calculations are approximate

Despite a slow start from their top-two scorers in exhibition games against Nova Southeastern and DePauw, the Butler Bulldogs pulled away from Lamar to seal a relatively easy first win of the season. Leading by just six at the half, the Bulldogs relied upon a big game from senior Khyle Marshall to erase any fears of a bad upset to start the year.

The Cardinals hung around for a while with Nimrod Hilliard and Donovan Ross accounting for 41 points between them. Lamar's small lineup (no starters taller than 6-foot-5) simply wore down against a superior Butler frontcourt in the second half. Butler outscored the visitors in the paint 62-22 and pulled down 14 more rebounds.

Kellen Dunham shot lights out in the two exhibition matchups, but finished tonight's game making just four of his 10 attempts from the field. He did keep shooting with confidence in the second half, which is a good sign. Shooters are going to have nights where the buckets just aren't coming. For Butler to be successful this season, Dunham is going to need to shake off cold streaks to contribute in big games. He finished with 13 points, including one three-pointer in five attempts.

Talented freshman Elijah Brown also struggled for the first time this year. He finished up with five points on 2-of-7 shooting off the bench. Starting point guard Alex Barlow scored two points with two assists. The key stat to watch for Barlow is his fouls. He picked up just two tonight. Barlow earned the starting spot with lockdown defense in the past and isn't a guy who will fill up the stat sheet so tighter officiating is going to affect him more than most. In order to be an effective player for Butler, Barlow is going to need to keep his hands to himself.

Marshall scored a team-high 19 points. He also snagged 13 boards, picking up the fifth double-double of his career. With an ability to get baskets inside the arc and help out on the offensive glass, tonight demonstrated how critical Marshall will be to the Bulldogs this season. Kameron Woods and Erik Fromm added 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Woods also finished with seven rebounds.

Off the bench, Jackson Aldridge was very impressive. The junior guard scored nine in support of Barlow. All told, 12 Bulldogs scored as Butler ultimately put together another strong offensive performance.

Butler has a week off before their second regular season game, next Saturday at home against Princeton.

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