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Butler Bulldogs Defeat DePaul at Hinkle Fieldhouse

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs picked up their second win against the DePaul Blue Demons this season in a BIG EAST Conference matchup at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday night. Butler shot 86.2% from the free throw line and got a combined 39 points from Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham to drop DePaul, 67-53. With the win, Butler improves to 14-6 overall and 3-5 in BIG EAST play. The win also completes the season sweep of the Blue Demons, who fall to 7-13 (1-7).

“I’m really proud of our guys tonight and of this effort,” said Butler coach Chris Holtmann. “They had a great awareness of how physical and tough this game was going to be. It was a grind-it-out kind of game and it’s good to get the win.”

It was the Roosevelt Jones show early at Hinkle Fieldhouse as the redshirt senior G/F scored the first eight points of the game for Butler, including the first points of the game after the Bulldogs won the opening tip. DePaul took a 3-2 lead after a three-pointer from freshman G Eli Cain following a Roosevelt Jones foul, but Jones responded with six more points for the Bulldogs. Junior C Tommy Hamilton IV hit another DePaul three to tie the game up at 8-8 with 15:12 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs went on to take a 16-12 lead before a jumper by DePaul senior F Rashaun Stimage and a Hamilton three at the 9:56 mark gave the Blue Demons the 17-16 advantage.

Thankfully for the Bulldogs, senior G Kellen Dunham and graduate transfer G Jordan Gathers found their touch from deep. After Butler shot 0-5 from three, Dunham scored his first points and the first team make from distance with 8:13 remaining in the first half. A rough 0-4 shooting performance from three was underway for Jordan Gathers before he connected from deep to answer the Kellen Dunham three. Following an Eli Cain layup for DePaul, Kellen Dunham connected on back-to-back three-pointers as the 12-2 run in 3:07 put the Bulldogs up 28-19 with 5:06 remaining in the first. Four straight points from DePaul junior G Billy Garrett Jr. were the last of the half for the Blue Demons as Butler held the visiting team to a 3:44 scoring drought. The Bulldogs led at the half, 33-23, the largest lead of the first 20 minutes.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Roosevelt Jones (John Fetcho)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Roosevelt Jones (John Fetcho)

Roosevelt Jones, who started at the PG position for Butler, finished with four assists and 13 first half points on 6-of-8 (75%) shooting from the field. As a team, the Bulldogs finished the first half shooting 41.4% (12-29) from the field while holding DePaul to 36% (9-25). Butler also had the three point shooting percentage advantage at the half, 36.4% (4-11) to 25% (3-12). The Bulldogs scored six points off of nine first half DePaul turnovers while giving up zero points on four of their own mistakes.

DePaul came out of the halftime break ready to fix their first half scoring woes. The Blue Demons opened the second half with five straight points, including a converted and-1 play following a foul by sophomore G Kelan Martin. Junior F Andrew Chrabascz also came out ready to score as he knocked down back-to-back threes starting at the 17:44 mark to open up the scoring for Butler. Two straight jumpers from Martin led Butler to a 10-0 run over 2:43 and increased the lead to 43-28.

A DePaul layup and dunk by senior F Myke Henry cut the Butler lead to seven, 49-42, with 8:40 remaining in the game. That was the closest the Blue Demons came to the Bulldogs for the remainder of the game as the lead quickly increased to 14 with the help of seven straight Butler points at the 6:30 mark. Butler went on to survive the remainder of the game by making 20-of-23 free throw attempts in the second half. The 16-point decision with 44 seconds remaining in the game was the largest lead of the game.

Butler out-rebounded the visitors, 36-26, with sophomore F Tyler Wideman leading the way with a game high nine boards. The Bulldogs only shot 40% (18-450 from the field, including 37.5% (6-16) from three, but made 86.2% (25-29) from the free throw line. Butler’s defensive effort held DePaul to 38.9% (21-54) shooting from the field.

Roosevelt Jones finished with a season-high and game-hig 23 points, four rebounds and game-high four assists. He shot 63.6% (7-11) from the field and made 9-of-11 free throw attempts. Dunham added three first-half three-pointers and seven free throws for 16 points. Andrew Chrabascz added 10 points while Eli Cain and Tommy Hamilton led DePaul with 13 points apiece.

Dunham moved into seventh place on Butler’s career scoring list, passing Billy Shepherd. Dunham now has 1,737 points in his career. Jones picked up his 400th career assist in the contest.

Butler returns to action Saturday at Marquette with a noon (ET, 11 a.m. Central/Milwaukee) tip on FS1. Butler’s next home game is Tuesday (Feb. 2) when the Georgetown Hoyas visit Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Chris Fultz is a senior writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter

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