The game started out very sloppy, as both teams had a mere four points and a couple of turnovers at the under-16 timeout. Both teams had under ten points at the under-12 timeout, and it looked like we were in for a grind it out type of game at Hinkle Fieldhouse. But the pace began to pick up as the two teams began to knock down shots that weren't going down in the first eight minutes. Butler began to dominate the game as they began to control the battle on the boards. leading the rebounding battle 23-11. Both teams did a good job getting to the free throw line as Butler got to the line 14 times and St.Johns 11 times. It looked as if Butler was going to pull away but they continued to turn the ball over and let St.John's stay in the game, despite the Johnnies playing poor on the offensive end. But it was a double digit lead for Butler at the half as they lead 39-25. Kellen Dunham was the leading scorer for Butler with 12 points and four rebounds. Star point guard Federico Mussini led the way for St.John's with eight points and three steals.
In the second half Butler showed they were the better team as they began to pull away from St.John's. The Bulldogs led by double digits for the whole second half. Kellen Dunham picked up where he left off in the first half with a good second half and he got help from the likes of Kelan Martin who had 22 points to go along with Dunham's 24 points. Behind strong shooting, as Butler shot 48.1% from the field, the Bulldogs were able to pull away from a young St.John's team in the second half who couldn't seem to keep up on the offensive end. . In the end it was a 78-58 win for Butler over the Red Storm.
Butler's leading scorer was Kellen Dunham who scored 24 points as he hit four from deep and shot 10 of 11 from the free throw line. St.John's were led by Federico Mussini who had 14 points and four steals.
Here are three things we learned:
1. Butler can play well without Roosevelt Jones
Normally the main engine for Butler, Roosevelt Jones struggled in this game as he scored just a mere five points and eight rebounds. He shot two of five from the field and his offensive impact was minimal. But thankfully for Butler, they didn't struggle on offense as Jones got help from Kelan Martin and Kellen Dunham. Andrew Chrasbascz also helped out with 13 points. It was a great sign to see other Butler players step up on a day where Jones didn't play well. If Butler wants to make some noise, they will need to have big games from players other than Roosevelt Jones.
2. Poor shooting dooms St.John's
Credit St. John's for playing hard and playing well for a young team away from home but they shot poorly from the field. St.John's shot 33.9% from the field as they struggled in their half court offense. Even their leading scorer in Federico Mussini had a poor shooting night as he shot four of ten from the field. Compare that to the 48% shooting from the field by Butler and you can see why it was a twenty point blowout in this game.
3. Could this be the turnaround for Butler?
This gives Butler their second BIG EAST win as they improve their conference record to 2-3 and 13-4 overall. Although they are ranked 23rd in the country, Butler has struggled in conference play but this win could be a spark for Butler. They played inspired and overcame a slow first half to beat St. John's. Could this spark a run from the Bulldogs? Only time will tell.