The Butler Bulldogs put together one of their most complete efforts in recent memory, dispatching the St. John’s Red Storm along the way at home as they walked away on Wednesday night with a 110-86 victory.
20-point efforts from Avery Woodson and Andrew Chrabascz were the highlight performances for the Bulldogs. The pair combined to shoot 12-for-23 from the field and 8-for-16 from the 3-point line, with Woodson accounting for six of those eight makes on 10 of those 16 attempts.
Tyler Wideman chipped in 14 points, coming one rebound away from a double-double and Kelan Martin got into double figures with 19 points scored on 11 shots. Martin helped his cause mostly from trips to the line as he shot 8-for-12 on his gimmes.
Butler as a team was able to pummel St. John’s with great efficiency, shooting 57 percent as a team from the field and a rather ridiculous 48 percent from the 3-point arc. The ‘Dawgs also made good on their free throw attempts, converting on 28 of their 38 shots at the line. For the game, Butler scored an absurd 1.375 points per possession on 80 of such and had a mark of 1.459 in the first half.
That’s not to say St. John’s’ numbers were bad, however. Not the case at all. St. John’s finished shooting 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from the 3-point line and 73 percent from the free throw line. Defense was simply the issue for them as they weren’t able to get stops and keep Butler from opening up a can on them, as BU went over the century mark.
Freshman sensation Shamorie Ponds scored 18 points and went 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Fellow backcourt mate Marcus LoVett scored 15 but the tandem struggled from an efficiency standpoint. On the whole, they shot a combined 8-for-22 on their field goal attempts, but were able to make all but one of their 15 combined free throw attempts Wednesday night. If you’re into silver linings and all.
Ponds and LoVett were two of four Red Storm players to get into double figures. Federico Mussini and Bashir Ahmed were able to as well as they scored 20 and 15 respectively.
The victory was a big one for Butler as they’d recently lost their footing. While they were the top four-seed in the NCAA Tournament committee’s bracket reveal last Saturday, they were losers of three of their last four games entering play on Wednesday with two of those losses coming on their home floor. Prior to those defeats to Georgetown and Creighton, Butler hadn’t lost at Hinkle Fieldhouse all season.
So, they were able to kill two birds with one stone on Wednesday night: Ending their woes at home, and ending their woes in general. The ‘Dawgs move to 20-6 on the season and 9-5 in Big East play. With their 20th win of the season, it’s the 11th time in the last 12 years that the Bulldogs have recorded at least 20 victories in a season. A rather remarkable run to say the least.
The Johnnies meanwhile certainly couldn’t have been expected to win this game on the road. They’ve played well of late - splitting their last eight games right down the middle - but it’s a daunting task for any team to win at Hinkle. Their defensive woes are already known and they can only hope to better themselves going away. They’ll have their work cut out for them in their final four games of the year with trips to Omaha and Milwaukee on the docket, but it’s fair to suggest they’ve exceeded some expectations to this point.
Butler will play DePaul on Sunday while St. John’s’ next game isn’t until next Tuesday when they battle Marquette.