The Butler Bulldogs have been playing basketball since the NCAA's formation in 1910. Before tonight, they had never scored 130 points or more in a single game. The Bulldogs defeated The Citadel by a score of 144-71.
Butler broke a litany of school records tonight. Let's run them down.
- Most points in a game, regulation or overtime (previous Butler record was 128, set in a 2OT loss to Evansville in 1991)
- Most points in Hinkle Fieldhouse history (previous record was 136, set by Evansville in that 2OT game)
- Most field goals: (56 tonight, previous record was 53, set against DePauw in 1965)
- Margin of victory (73 tonight, previous record was 68 set against Indiana Law School in 1921)
In such a historic offensive outburst, it can be tough to find things to takeaway, but I'll do the best I can here. Here are the three things we learned about Butler in tonight's offensive explosion.
1. Butler can score
What else could have possibly been here? Six Bulldogs reached double-figures tonight, with Kellen Dunham leading the pack with 24 points in 18 minutes, as he sat for most of the second half. Of course, the Bulldogs can't expect to go out and perform like this every night, but it has to inspire confidence in every player, knowing that they're capable of this type of performance. Especially some of the younger guys like Kelan Martin (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Jackson Davis (15 points). The Bulldogs finished the game with a Points Per Possession (PPP) of 1.5. Anything over one is considered good.
Seeing some of the younger players develop confidence in the offense gives Chris Holtmann something to think about, as well. The starting five of Tyler Lewis, Dunham, Roosevelt Jones, Andrew Chrabascz, and Tyler Wideman, is likely set in stone, but bench roles are entirely up for grabs.
Speaking of Lewis, the highly touted transfer and former McDonald's All-American had 17 points in his Butler debut.
2. Rebounding concerns? Not tonight
For the first couple minutes of this game, Butler looked to be struggling to replace Kameron Woods. Woods, who led the Big East with 9.9 rebounds per game last season, graduated, and the Bulldogs were struggling on the boards.
By the time the game ended, Butler had grabbed 56 rebounds to Citadel's 24, and three Bulldogs (Roosevelt Jones, Kelan Martin, and Andrew Chrabascz) had eight boards or more.
Again, this game isn't the best sample size, but the Bulldogs did a perfectly acceptable job on the boards. It's never going to be perfect when you have to replace a player of Woods' caliber, but it's certainly a good start.
3. The Bulldogs have things to work on
Obviously this was an incredible night for Butler, but they have a few things to improve upon, as does any college basketball team at this stage of the season.
The Bulldogs let Citadel get to the free throw line 27 times, and had five players with at least three fouls (including Kelan Martin, who fouled out).
Obviously, that's not something you harp on when you win by 73 points, but it's important that the Bulldogs play with more discipline.
Butler also was 8-26 from beyond the arc. Strong three-point shooting has always been a hallmark of Butler teams in the past, and it's unlikely to expect that will change this year. The Bulldogs need to find their touch from out there.
On that note, it's pretty nuts that Butler just scored 144 points while shooting 31% from deep.