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No. 22/22 Butler Bulldogs Defeat DePaul at Home

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #22/22 Butler Bulldogs picked up their fifth straight Big East Conference win against the DePaul Blue Demons on Saturday (Feb. 7). Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones combined for 44 points and Butler held off a late charge to defeat visiting DePaul, 83-73, at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler’s fifth straight BIG EAST win lifted the Bulldogs to 18-6 on the season and 8-3 in conference play.

Dunham scored a game-high 24 points and led the Bulldogs in scoring for the second consecutive contest. He scored 15 of his points in the first half to help Butler to a strong start. Dunham went 4-of-9 from three and took over the 5th place spot for made threes in school history, passing former head coach Brandon Miller. Jones chipped in with 20 points, including 13 in the second half.

The Bulldogs, who were 0-3 all-time against DePaul in Hinkle Fieldhouse, used a 14-2 run early in the first half to take a 12-point advantage, 21-9, and never trailed for the rest of the game. Five different Butler players had a hand in the early run, paced by Dunham with four points.

“We were able to make some shots early,” said Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann of his team’s early surge. “Our concern was stopping them. They have so many guys who can shoot it and it makes them very dangerous. We knew it was going to be a game of runs and we wanted to limit theirs.”

Butler led by 13 points at halftime, 40-27, and quickly stretched that out to 18 points, 50-32, with a 10-5 run to open the second half. Sophomore forward Andrew Chrabascz sparked the second-half surge with seven of Butler’s first ten points.

But DePaul (12-13, 6-6 BIG EAST) wasn’t done. The Blue Demons, who rank second in the BIG EAST in three-point field goals per game, mounted their own charge and trimmed the Butler lead to four points, 59-55, with 8:48 left in the game. The DePaul run was fueled by three three-point field goals.

Butler’s lead remained in single digits until senior guard Alex Barlow nailed a corner three-point field goal to give the Bulldogs a 70-60 advantage with 6:08 remaining. DePaul never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

“Our activity defensively wasn’t as good in the second half,” noted Holtmann of the Blue Demons’ comeback. But our guys responded when they needed to respond. These guys continue to have the right approach when it gets tough.”

Photo: Butler Athletics/Kellen Dunham (John Fetcho)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Kellen Dunham (John Fetcho)

The Bulldogs had their best shooting night of the BIG EAST season and their third-best effort of the year. Butler hit 15-of-25 (60%) shots in the first half and finished the game with 27 field goals in 47 attempts (57.4%). The Bulldogs hit 8-of-14 attempts (57.1%) from beyond the three-point arc.

Chrabascz led Butler’s hot shooting with a six of eight (75%) shooting performance. He finished with 16 points, his fifth straight game in double-figures. Barlow had eight points, eight assists and four steals, while Kameron Woods led all players with eight rebounds. The Bulldogs out-rebounded DePaul, 31-25.

Jamee Crockett led DePaul with 14 points, while Myke Henry added 12.

The win lifted Butler into sole possession of second place in the BIG EAST and set the stage for a first place showdown against Villanova on Saturday, Feb. 14. The No. 7-ranked Wildcats currently lead the BIG EAST with an 8-2 conference record. The two teams will play on Valentine’s Day at 6 p.m. (ET).

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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