If the UL-Monroe Warhawks came into Hinkle Fieldhouse with an upset in mind, their hopes were quickly dashed. The game was never really close as Butler built up an early lead, then continued adding on until the very end, ultimately winning 67-36.
The Warhawks rank #330 in the country in pace of play, and Butler’s defense brought their already slow offense to a standstill in the first half. UL-Monroe scored just 14 points in the first half, despite only a handful of turnovers. The Bulldogs simply forced the Warhawks into uncomfortable shots on almost every possession.
Meanwhile, Sean McDermott and Derrik Smits led the offense for Butler, scoring ten points apiece in the first stanza. It was a coming out party for Smits, who was finally able to show what he is capable of at Butler, playing extended minutes and dominating the post. He finished with 16.
In the second half, things only got worse for the Warhawks. Butler didn’t let up on defense and got lots of offense from its reserves, with Smits, Christian David, Henry Baddley, Khalif Battle, and Jordan Tucker all scoring at least four points off the bench.
It was a fine tune-up for the Bulldogs who must be tremendously pleased with their non-conference performance. They enter Big East play with a 12-1 record and currently projecting as a #2-seed in the NCAA Tournament. They are considered by many to be the current favorite to win the Big East, and they certainly looked like a powerhouse against UL-Monroe on Saturday.
Butler faces St. John’s on Tuesday, December 31, at 7:30 p.m. ET.