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Butler vs. Miami recap: Hurricanes defeat Bulldogs to win Puerto Rico Tip-Off

The Bulldogs spent most of the game trying to claw out of an early hole.

Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason tournaments are a strange beast in college basketball.

While you'd, obviously, like to go to your tournament, grab the three wins, and come home, that's not always how it works.

No team knows that better than the Butler Bulldogs. Butler now hasn't won a preseason tournament since the 2007 Great Alaskan Shootout after Sunday night's 85-75 loss to Miami in the final of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

While Butler hasn't brought home any hardware from their previous few preseason tournaments, they've used them as a platform to get experience playing against quality teams. That goes a long way come March. Here are three things we learned tonight.

It's not smart to go down by 19 points to Miami

Let me start off with a Captain Obvious moment. It's not particularly smart to go down by 19 points to any power conference team, but a team like the Hurricanes, with their eclectic mix of scoring and defense, can really make your night tough if you let them get out to a big lead.

That's exactly what Butler did. With 2:41 to play in the first half, Miami led the Bulldogs by a 40-21 margin. Roosevelt Jones looked like Butler's only hope, as he had 11 points at that time.

I don't want to discredit Miami, though. The reason they got out to that lead in the first place? They're a very good team.

They're a very good team with wins over two top 25 schools in as many days in Utah and Butler. When Monday's AP Poll comes out, the Hurricanes should find themselves comfortably ranked.

Miami was led by guard Angel Rodriguez, as they so often are. Rodriguez had 19 points on 6-10 shooting, plus three steals.

Ja'Quan Newton added 17 points, and seven-footer Tonye Jekiri was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, as he had 12 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks.

In the end, Butler will likely use this game as a learning experience. A big part of these preseason tournaments is learning where you are as a team and what your weaknesses are.

Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham cannot do it all

Jones had 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists. He kept Butler in the game in the first half, as he accounted for nearly half of their points.

Dunham finished with a game-high 23 points, 20 of which came in the second half.

What was the problem for Butler? Two players accounted for 56% of their points.

It's not easy to win when two players have that much of a burden on their shoulders. Butler's next highest scorers were Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman, both of whom had eight points.

Of course, another way to look at this is that Butler trailed most of the game and relied on their two big horses to get them back in the game, and had to face a seven-footer in the paint.

Up till Sunday, Butler's scoring this season had been pretty evenly distributed, so it's possible this was just an anomaly.

Looking Ahead

Butler will return to the States to face Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday night.

The Bulldogs are 1-0 all time against the Cougars, who play in the Ohio Valley Conference.

SIU-E is currently 275th in the nation in Points Per Game at just 68.7.

The Cougars are 1-2 on the season so far.