INDIANAPOLIS (IN) - InsideTheDawgPound takes a look at how the Bulldogs faired in their season opening win over Lamar 89-58.
The 1st half was a struggle for Butler's elite scoring guards Kellen Dunham and Elijah Brown. The two combined for just two points and one made field goal in the 1st half. The Bulldogs still managed to score 38 points on the shoulders of great inside play from Khyle Marshall, Erik Fromm, and Kameron Woods.
After shooting 50% during the first half as a team, Butler's guards got more aggressive in the second half and joined the big men by taking their offense to the paint. Butler outscored Lamar 62-12 in the paint, which was impressive, including 24 points on 2nd chances. However the outside shooting left something to be desired as the Bulldogs finished with just 18 points from outside the paint. Butler was 4/17 (23.5%) from 3-point range and made just 3 jump shots the entire game.
The bench scoring was also impressive as the Bulldogs scored 34 points off the bench led by junior point guard Jackson Aldridge with 9 points.
Improvements can definitely be made on offense and will be needed on most nights in the Big East and against teams that can match or exceed Butler's size in the front court.
If Butler would have played a complete game of great defense, this grade would be higher, but the defense struggled to slow down the Cardinals in the 1st half. Butler allowed 32 points and 46.9% FG shooting in the 1st half. The defense also forced just 4 turnovers in the 1st half.
In the 2nd half, Butler ramped up the defense and Lamar wilted under the pressure. The Bulldogs forced 9 turnovers and allowed just 37.5% shooting. They also dominated the defensive glass only allowing 1 offensive rebound.
There were also some impressive individual defensive plays throughout the game. Kameron Woods, Erik Fromm, and Elijah Brown each had impressive blocks.
Overall it was a solid start for the Bulldogs. Butler played extremely well in the 2nd half and eventually put the Cardinals away early. They did score 89 points, but the offensive production was largely due to the poor rebounding effort from Lamar. Butler made just 7 jump shots on the night and they won't win many games in the Big East without shooting the ball better.
This was a good starting point for the Bulldogs and head coach Brandon Miller. A lot of room for improvement left but also a nice game to build confidence from and it gave 13 players a chance to see game action.