The Butler Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-0 lead on Saturday against the Saint Louis Billikens – they never looked back. Back in the friendly confines of Hinkle Fieldhouse after two weeks away, the Bulldogs opened up with a 1-2 punch of three pointers by Kelan Martin and Paul Jorgensen. A six-point deficit was as close as Saint Louis ever got, and Butler cruised to a 75-45 victory.
Martin finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Kamar Baldwin chipped in 14 points. The Bulldogs emptied the bench and got contributions from everybody. Henry Baddley was a star off the bench with nine points, seven rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block in just 21 minutes.
Saint Louis was no match for the superior Bulldogs, but guard Javon Bess turned in a strong performance with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Butler is developing physicality
Butler built its program on physical play. During Brad Stevens’ tenure especially, the Dawgs frequently out-rebounded opponents and suffocated them on defense. One of the shortcomings of Chris Holtmann’s Butler teams was a lack of physicality. Butler has played more physical lately and on Saturday, the Bulldogs beat Saint Louis on the boards 41-26. Butler also won position battles on defense throughout the day, contributing to an abysmal shooting performance by the Billikens (28.6%).
Butler has some swagger
Dan Dakich said during the broadcast of the Butler-Ohio State game last week that a win or a loss could “make or break your entire preseason.” While Dakich has been wrong many times before, he might have been on the money here. Butler’s thrilling comeback against the Buckeyes seems to have infused energy and swagger into the Bulldogs. They came out of the gate ready to play on Saturday and never took their foot off the gas.
Henry Baddley is a bad man
Butler fans were stoked when Henry Baddley committed to the Dawgs two years ago. His high school highlight videos on YouTube are spectacular. Baddley is extremely athletic and his potential for rim-rattling dunks and emphatic blocks keeps fans on the edge of their seats. However, Baddley saw little playing time as a freshman, and just this year is starting to see more minutes. Baddley has played well and is using his athleticism and physicality to help the Bulldogs in a number of ways. On Saturday against Saint Louis, he showed how versatile and impactful he can be.