Butler could still play a little bit better, but the performance on offense was about as good as you will see, especially this early in the season.
The Bulldogs shot 27/56 (48.2%) from the field including 6/15 (40%) from 3-point range. They also connected on 16/21 (76.2%) free throws, which helped them close out the game.
The inside-outside combination of senior Khyle Marshall and sophomore Kellen Dunham was on full display in Orlando. Marshall scored a career-high 30 points on 12/18 from the field, and Dunham also topped his career-high with 32 points on 9/14 from the field (6/9 3PT), as the Bulldogs scored 76 points against the Cougars.
The bench production was practically non-existent. The Bulldogs only had two points off the bench, from freshman Andrew Chrabascz, and everyone else remained scoreless. If Butler could have gotten production from the bench, it would have been an A for the Bulldog offense.
Washington State shot 50% (25/50) from the field including 25% (5/20) from 3-point range. The Cougars were also 14/22 from the free throw line.
Butler struggled to stop leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, who finished with 26 points on 7/12 shooting from the floor (4/8 3PT). One reason for the lapse in defensive play was the foul difficulty for junior Alex Barlow. The point guard was riddled with foul trouble again and it gave Lacy the match-ups he needed to find openings in the Butler defense.
Barlow needs to improve some of his decision making on the defensive end. The Bulldogs cannot afford to have him on the bench when there is a dynamic scorer on the perimeter. His absence leaves a hole in the Butler defense and opponents have been taking advantage.
The Bulldogs contained the front line for Washington State. The forwards and centers combined for just 8 points on 4/11 shooting.
Washington State won the rebounding margin 33-27 including grabbing 8 offensive rebounds versus just 6 for Butler.
Butler continues to force turnovers and take care of the ball on offense. They forced 13 Cougar turnovers while committing just 6 of their own. It has been one of the keys to success for Butler this year.
Butler shot the ball well, even from the perimeter, and improved on their struggling free throw percentage. The improves helped Butler stay in the game and also close out the game down the stretch.
This was one of Butler's most complete performances to date. The Bulldogs are off to a 5-0 start, their best since an 8-0 start in 2008-09. Brandon Miller remains perfect in his career as Butler head coach.
Marshall and Dunham were both phenomenal for Butler. Each looked unstoppable at times out on the court and the Cougars didn't know who to try and contain, whether it was Marshall inside or Dunham on the perimeter.
If Butler can continue to take care of the ball, while forcing turnovers on defense and shooting well on offense, they will win a lot more games than people were predicting in the preseason.