St. John’s pulls away to defeat the Bulldogs at home to open up Big East play.
Butler could not handle the quick perimeter players of St. Johns throughout the game, and struggled to guard ball handlers: allowing them to score off the dribble seemingly at will.
Emerging Freshman star Shamorie Ponds lead St. John’s with 26 points along with seven rebounds. He picked apart Butler’s defense by coming off of ball screens and pulling up for midrange and deep 2-point jump shots. St. John’s guard Bashir Ahmed followed suit and scored 19 of his own points in similar fashion.
Butler managed to stop St. John’s other freshman star Marcus LoVett to only ten points in the contest. LoVett came off the bench to start the game but still tallied nearly 30 minutes of playing time.
Butler’s offensive struggles kept them from pulling away in the matchup.
Butler big man Tyler Wideman was the star of the Bulldogs’ offense scoring 20 points and pulling down four offensive rebounds in the contest. Kathan Savage was also an unlikely spark to Butler’s offense in the first half, making two threes and a foot-on-the-line jump shot.
St. John’s was able to lock down Butler’s best offensive players. Bulldog star Kelan Martin was held to only 13 points and shot only 14% from deep. Do it all forward Andrew Chrabascz was held to only four points. Kamar Baldwin got the nod for yet another start and only notched four points as well.
While both teams shot poorly from three, Butler’s long-ball woes were even more damaging because they only made 6/25 attempts. St. John’s knew they wouldn’t win via the long ball, so they only took 16 tries from deep.
The Dawgs forced 16 turnovers in the game, but also gave up 13 of their own. Butler also shot a so-so 68% from the freethrow line. These are areas where in close games, every little bit counts.
Once again, Butler has given up a win to a team that should be an easy win. Poor defense by Butler guards as well as a cold shooting night lost this game. Butler’s defense should be their strongest asset, the asset that gets them the wins in close games like this one.
In games where the Dawgs give up 72 points or more (except for their offensive explosion against Indiana) they lose. Look for this trend to continue, for what could be the Achilles heel for the Bulldogs.
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