Butler improves to 8-0 and hands Central Arkansas their seventh loss of the season in a big way. After a shaky first half that left Butler with just a twelve point lead at half, the Dawgs pulled away in the second half on a massive scoring output by Junior star Kelan Martin to finish off the Bears with a 24 point win.
Martin finished off the game with 30 points on 11/22 shooting and five (!) three pointers in the second half. Avery Woodson had a strong start from behind the arc as well, hitting each of his first three long balls, and then going cold missing his next six. He finished with nine points.
Butler’s big man Tyler Wideman had a big game of his own, completing the first double double of his career with 10 rebounds and 10 points on 4/5 shooting. Wideman is shooting 90% from the field in his last two contests.
Transfer guard Kethan Savage logged the most minutes off the bench and made his impact on the game with 6 assists, a game high. Savage had no turnovers and the Dawgs as a team only had 8.
Central Arkansas’ Jordan Howard lead the Bears with 20 points on 5/9 from behind the arc. The Bulldogs struggled to guard him through the second half, which kept the Bears in the game. The Bears’ leading scorer Derreck Brooks, had 15 points of his own, and lead the bears in assists with 4. Both guards had 6 rebounds, a team high.
The pair of Brooks and Howard is what kept the Bears in the game in the first half, much like the springy point guard Jordan Davis kept University of Northern Colorado in that game despite an otherwise irrelevant team. Butler will have to do better at taking high scoring players out of games in the future, especially as they encounter tougher opponents and guards such as Indiana’s James Blackmon, Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, Xavier’s Edmond Sumner or J.P. Macura, or St. John’s Marcus LoVett.
Besides defense at the point guard position (Butler’s Avery Woodson spend most of the game guarding the point instead of Tyler Lewis) Butler has some small adjustments to make to their game. The Bulldogs shot just under 50% from the field, 31% from deep, and 64% from the line. All of these numbers should ideally be higher, especially against a weak opponent like Central Arkansas.
The biggest way to fix this is by being more disciplined with the team’s shot selection. The Dawgs get good looks from three and in close, but take a lot of questionable/contested midrange jumpers and floaters. With big men like Wideman and Chrabascz who have been dominant despite their lack of height, the dawgs should look to them for their inside scoring and to their guards for strong outside shooting, and then take the mid range game when it comes to them easily.
A positive to take away into their next game is that Butler’s defense held the Bears to under 60 points, a feat that they have accomplished four times this season now. They forced 16 turnovers on only six steals. The Dawgs have been eating on the defensive end.
Their next contest will be Wednesday at Indiana State against a Sycamore team who is 3-4 with close losses against Stanford and Iowa State. Indiana State also plays tonight against Utah State. The Butler game will be in Terre Haute and on ESPN 3 at 7:00.
Photo Credits: Kelan Martin on Twitter