As with most of their Big East games this year, the Butler Bulldogs played tough for a half and then watched what was a close game slip away, this time with the St. John's Red Storm routing via a 47-19 second half.
A key piece was missing for each team, Big East leading rebounder Kameron Woods out for the Bulldogs (suspension) and shot blocking machine Chris Obekpainjured for St. John's. Butler capitalized on the Red Storm's weakened interior defense early, with Khyle Marshall scoring 16 in the first half. After the break, however, the Butler Way turned into jacking up a bunch of NBA-range threes. That didn't work so well.
Nothing good to say here. Butler's offensive efficiency was an awful 76.5 points per 100 possessions. Bad Elijah Brown was back in time for his first career start in place of Woods. Brown had been riding a nice hot streak, but went 2 of 13 from the floor against the Johnnies. Alex Barlow also struggled shooting the ball (3 of 11), but made up for it somewhat with two assists, two steals, and no turnovers.
Kellen Dunham was 5 of 12 for 13 points. After scoring 16 in the first half, Marshall laid an egg after intermission. He pulled down seven rebounds, also the same amount with which he finished the first half.
No one else scored more than four points. Butler stayed with a seven-man rotation for most of the game, though Nolan Berry (five minutes), Devontae Morgan (one), and Elliott Kampen (one) all saw the court briefly. To be fair, Berry picked up three fouls in his five minutes of play, but its hard to understand Brandon Miller's decision to keep Morgan on the bench with Brown playing on the wing and only one other scholarship guard left on the roster (Jackson Aldridge).
Butler went eight and a half minutes in the second half without scoring a point and shot 17% from the floor after leading by three at the break. I'd say it couldn't get any worse than this, but Butler fans have heard that already this year.