Hoo boy. The grease fire that is Butler's inaugural Big East season just keeps getting worse. The Bulldogs have now dropped five of their past six against a would-be rival in Xavier and stand at 2-10 in the conference. What was once a rebuilding year in a tough new league borders on absolute catastrophe.
Andrew Chrabasczreverted into maturing freshman role against the Musketeers. He showed some range with a nice three, but only earned Brandon Miller'sconfidence for 23 minutes finishing with seven points and three boards. Without Chrabascz carrying the load, Butler's other scorers completely failed to provide any kind of offense.
Kellen Dunhamhad his worst game of the season, with only two points from 10 shots. Dunham had only failed to score in double digits on four other occasions this season, but its clear that he doesn't have the ability to be the team's number one threat in conference play. The sophomore has now made less than 40% of his shots in 9 of 12 Big East contests and is approaching his field goal percentage from last season despite a huge uptick in performance over the first half of the year.
Senior Khyle Marshall was unable to provide any leadership of his own, with a quiet 28 minutes (six points, three rebounds). Kameron Woods missed all of his field goal attempts and finished with just six boards.
Alex Barlow did provide a spark, hitting a trio of three-pointers. He and freshman Elijah Brownwere the only two Bulldogs in double figures. Brown scored 14 off the bench, his third double-digit scoring performance in four games.
Other substitutes included Nolan Berry, who hit a three and pulled down two rebounds in ten minutes, and Erik Frommwith five boards.
Rene Castrodidn't play after apparently getting kicked out of shootaround. While much of this season can't be blamed on first-year coach Brandon Miller (Roosevelt Jones' injury, moving to the Big East, losing top two players to graduation), Butler's mental attitude seems to be rapidly deteriorating. Perhaps the Castro thing is a personal issue, but it doesn't say great things about the state of the program.
The small bright spot is the continued development of the other freshmen. Chrabascz had a tough night, but seems to be a star in the making. Brown is a mercurial scorer with the ability to light it up or go down in flames, but he's exciting to watch. Even Berry seems to be coming along now. With little hope for the rest of the year, Butler fans can only hope to see more improved play from the youngest guys on the roster.
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