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No. 23/23 Butler Bulldogs Roll Past Marquette

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #23/23 Butler Bulldogs needed a bounce-back effort after a tough loss in their previous game and certainly got one on Wednesday night.  Junior guard Kellen Dunham scored a game-high 22 points and Butler rebounded from its biggest margin of defeat this season to post a 73-52 victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday (Feb. 25). The victory lifted the Bulldogs to 20-8 on the season and 10-5 in the BIG EAST.

Dunham scored just nine points in Butler’s 73-56 loss at Xavier on Saturday. He had 11 points at halftime against Marquette just four days later.  The 6-4 guard, who attempted only five shots at Xavier, knocked down 8-of-14 shots against the Golden Eagles, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. The 21-point victory margin was Butler’s second-biggest in the BIG EAST this season.

“I thought offensively we were good in the first half. We took care of it and we did get to the foul line,” said Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann after the game. “Part of it was an adjustment to how we played against them last time. We really struggled offensively at their place, and they kind of man-handled us in some areas. Tonight we emphasized being a little more aggressive in attacking, and we were able to do that.”

Photo: Butler Athletics/Kellen Dunham (Zach Bolinger)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Kellen Dunham (Zach Bolinger)

Dunham wasn’t the only Butler player grabbing the spotlight.  Senior forward Kameron Woods had his best offensive night of the season, scoring 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He also pulled down seven rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Junior guard Roosevelt Jones added 10 points, six assists and three steals, while freshman forward Tyler Wideman, making just his third career start finished with eight points and eight rebounds. The Bulldogs also got nine points from freshman guard Kelan Martin and seven points from forward Austin Etherington off the bench. Senior guard Alex Barlow matched Jones for game-honors with six assists.

Butler scored the first four points of the game and never trailed in the contest, but couldn’t separate from Marquette in the first 20 minutes. The Golden Eagles (11-16, 3-12 BIG EAST), shot 59% in the opening period and trailed by just three points, 33-30, with under two minutes to go in the first half. But the Bulldogs closed with a pair of free throws by Dunham and a dunk by Wideman to take a 37-30 halftime lead.

It was still a three-point game, 38-35, three minutes into the second half, when Dunham knocked down back-to-back three-point field goals.  The first came in Butler’s offensive set off a nice pass from Jones and the second came on a fast break pass from Woods.

“That was a terrific play by Kam,” pointed out Holtmann of the second three-pointer.  “On the break, running full speed, a big guy to catch and gather.  It was a really important play in the game.”

The Bulldogs quickly stretched the lead to double-figures, 48-37, on a basket by Woods and then pulled away from there. The margin grew to 20 points, 66-46, on another Dunham three-pointer with just under six minutes remaining, and the Bulldogs took their biggest lead of the game at 73-50 on a three-point field goal by Etherington.

Luke Fischer led Marquette with 17 points, while Duane Wilson and Matt Carlino each added 10.

Butler, behind Wideman and Woods, out-rebounded Marquette, 28-18.  The Bulldogs pulled down 12 offensive rebounds and out-scored the visitors, 12-4 on second-chance points.

The victory moved Butler into a tie for second place with Georgetown in the BIG EAST standings.  The Bulldogs will try to hold that spot when they visit DePaul for a conference test on Saturday, Feb. 28.  The game at AllState Arena in Rosemont, Ill., is scheduled to tip at 1 p.m. (CT).

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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