INDIANAPOLIS (IN) - A new year and new players are stepping to the forefront for Butler (1-0). Khyle Marshall scored a team-high 19 points, and grabbed 13 rebounds, en-route to a season-opening win over Lamar 89-58 in head coach Brandon Miller's debut.
The Butler senior collected his 6th double-double of his career. Marshall was dominant on the glass and his totals could have been higher, but he was taken out mid-way through the 2nd half. He finished 9/13 from the field and also had two steals.
The Bulldogs dominated in the paint and outscored the Cardinals 62-12. Lamar (0-1) lacked the outside shooting to stay with Butler and also lacked the size to battle in the paint.
Butler also dominated the glass, outrebounding Lamar 41-27.
Butler entered the season losing its three leading scorers from last year. Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith graduated, while junior-to-be Roosevelt Jones suffered a season-ending wrist injury during a summer trip to Australia. It was up to Marshall and others to step up.
Butler and Lamar traded blows in the first half. The teams went back and forth and neither could pull away, until Butler went on a 9-2 run to end the first half. The Bulldogs took a 38-32 lead into the break.
The Cardinals, coming off of a 3-28 season, were looking to turn the corner under 3rd year head coach Pat Knight, after adding 7 new players from last season.
Butler shot 50% and led by 6 points in the first half despite just two points from sophomore Kellen Dunham, Butler's leading scorer in the pre-season.
In the 2nd half Butler began to pull away.
Kellen Dunham began to get aggressive driving to the basket, which led to free throws and created opportunities for his teammates. The sophomore finished with 13 points on 4/10 FGs (1/5 3PT) and 4/4 FTs.
The Bulldogs extended their 1st half run into the 2nd half. Butler used a 23-8 run to begin the 2nd half, which capped a 32-10 run over a 12 minute stretch that was decisive.
Butler stretched their lead to as many as 31 in the 2nd half.
Nimrod Hillard finished with a game-high 23 points on 9/15 FGs (2/5 3PT) and also had 4 rebounds. Donovan Ross added 18 points.
Butler shut down Lamar's returning leading scorer Rhon Mitchell, who scored just 2 points on 1/6 from the floor.
Junior point guard Jackson Aldridge helped lead the effort off the bench for the Bulldogs, who outscored Lamar 34-14 in bench points. Aldridge finished with 9 points and 2 assists.
Another key stat for the game was the turnover margin. Butler turned the ball over just 5 times, while forcing 13 turnovers for Lamar. The Bulldogs capitalized on the turnovers by scoring 20 points off of the Lamar mistakes.
Butler shot 38/70 (54.3%) from the field, including 4/17 (23.5%) from 3-point range. Lamar shot 24/56 (42.9%) from the field, including 2/10 from 3-point range.
The win for Butler extended their winning streak in season home openers to 15 games. The last loss for Butler in a home opener was to Southwest Missouri St, who was led by current Butler head coach Brandon Miller.
The Bulldogs are next in action against Princeton (0-0), next Saturday November 16th at 8PM EST at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Notes: Rene Castro scored 6 points in his career debut, the best of any freshman for Butler...While struggling early, freshman 6th-man Elijah Brown scored 5 points (2/7 FGs) while Nolan Berry and Andrew Chrabascz added 4 points each...Butler outscored Lamar 24-4 on 2nd chance points...12 players for Butler scored against Lamar including freshman walk-on Michael Volovic...89 points by Butler was the most in a opener since 2000-01...Attendance for the opener was 9,617, the most in an opener since 1993
It was over when... Khyle Marshall slammed down a dunk off a pass from Kameron Woods to extend the lead to 12, 50-38, with 15:35 left in the 2nd Half. Butler wouldn't lead by less than double digits for the remainder of the game.
Stat of the Game: 62 The points in the paint for Butler. Lamar depends on their ability to drive and score inside the paint and the Bulldogs limited them to just 12 points, while scoring 62 for themselves. Khyle Marshall, Erik Fromm, Kameron Woods, and Andrew Chrabascz (combined 44 points) completely dominated the game for the Bulldogs against the undersized Cardinals.