The Butler Bulldogs started their Thanksgiving Day game against Texas with ice cold shooting. They never got warm. Finishing 19-58 from the field, Butler fell to a Texas team that only shot slightly better (22-55). The Longhorns surged in the second half, scoring 39 points, and wound up winning 61-48.
The Longhorns were led by guard Andrew Jones, who shot 7-13 and scored 16 points. Freshman Matt Coleman added seven points, nine assists, six rebounds, and three steals. Freshman sensation Mo Bamba, despite struggling offensively, was a presence inside with 12 rebounds and four blocks.
The Bulldogs leading scorers were Kamar Baldwin and Kelan Martin, although the two combined to shoot just 10-34. Butler was able to cut the lead to four with just a few minutes left, but the Longhorns ran away with it, closing the game on a 14-4 run.
Kelan Martin has taken a step backwards
For four years, Butler fans have waited for Kelan Martin to become the superstar he is capable of being. After two years as a role player, Martin took on a major role on last year’s team. He had a decent season, but was inconsistent and disappointing at times. So far this year, Martin has struggled mightily, and against Texas he was abysmal, shooting 4-19. Butler has to be wondering if Martin can be relied on going forward.
Sean McDermott is getting more comfortable
The one bright spot for Butler in recent weeks is Sean McDermott. The sophomore is getting more and more comfortable in a starting role, and he shot the ball well against the Longhorns. McDermott scored Butler’s first nine points with three three-pointers. He slowed down from there, but did not force any shots, and added five rebounds.
Butler has its work cut out
Butler has whiffed on two resume-building opportunities in the last week (Maryland and Texas), and with a difficult Big East conference schedule looming, Butler needs to improve in a big way over the next couple of weeks. LaVall Jordan has his work cut out for him if he wants to help the Bulldogs return to the NCAA Tournament this year.