Pregame: Butler Bulldogs vs St. Louis Billikens
Saturday, December 2nd, 2 p.m. ET
Butler returns to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on the Billikens in their first home game since competing in the PK80 invitational. St. Louis is 3-3 on the season, and this will be their first road game of the year.
SLU’s offense operates primarily on the inside, due to their lack of elite shooters on the squad. As a team, the Billikens are shooting just 27% from three point land on 18 attempted threes for the season.
Junior forward Javon Bess transferred from Michigan State and sat out last year, but now leads SLU in scoring and free throws with 14 points per game on 85% shooting at the stripe and nearly six rebounds per game as well. Despite impressive scoring numbers (Bess dropped 22 against Virginia Tech and 16 against Providence), Bess is shooting just 17% from beyond the arc.
Sophomore forward Jalen Johnson is the next best scorer on this SLU squad, averaging 10 points per game, and is the only legitimate outside shooting threat for the Billikens, shooting 41% from deep this season.
Perhaps the most interesting player for the Billikens is do-it-all point guard Jordan Goodwin. The freshman is averaging 10 points per game, five assists per game, and leads the team in rebounding with seven boards per game. He also is a great defensive player, averaging almost three steals per game. Goodwin is a fantastic finisher around the rim but shoots an atrocious 9% (NINE! NINE PERCENT) from three.
Butler is experiencing their first major setback due to injury of the season. Sophomore forward Sean McDermott will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a sprained ankle that he suffered in the win against Portland State.. McDermott had been starting all season, and leads Butler in three pointers made and three point percentage. This loss is a big hit to Butler’s offense, and should mean more minutes for Nate Fowler and Paul Jorgensen.
Butler is coming off two close wins: a two point victory against Portland State, and a one point victory in OT against Ohio State. As they try to extend their winning streak, be on the lookout for Butler’s offense. Their defense thus far has been impressive, holding opponents to an average of just 68 points per game. The Bulldog offense will have to step up though, if they want to compete against high powered Big East offenses later in the season.
Players to watch-
Paul Jorgensen will have some shoes to fill as a shooter in the Butler lineup. With the injury to McDermott taking away a big time shooting threat in the Butler offense, Jorgensen will see more minutes and more opportunities to score. For a guy that can get going pretty easily, this is an exciting opportunity.
Jordan Goodwin is an exciting player to watch, with a high motor and playmaking skills. Butler has struggled against these types of guards in the past (ex: Matt Coleman of Texas, Anthony Cowan of Maryland), so look for Goodwin to control the game’s tempo and possibly be a game changing factor for the Billikens.
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