No. 23 Butler rolls past short-handed Marquette 73-52
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Butler got back to playing its style Wednesday night.
It took care of the ball, shared the wealth and celebrated another milestone win, together.
Kellen Dunham scored 22 points and Kameron Woods added 14 as the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs raced past short-handed Marquette 73-52.
''Tonight we emphasized being a little bit more aggressive and attacking,'' coach Chris Holtmann said. ''We were able to do that (early) in the first half.''
Actually, they did the entire game.
It was a striking - and desperately needed - change for the Bulldogs (20-8, 10-5 Big East) who have struggled since losing forward Andrew Chrabascz with a broken bone in his right hand Feb. 14. They would up losing that game to league-leading Villanova, barely survived with a two-point win two nights later at struggling Creighton, then got blown out Saturday by 17 at Xavier.
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs delivered one of their best overall performances of the season. And there were plenty of options to go around.
Roosevelt Jones finished with 10 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Freshman Tyler Wideman, Chrabascz's replacement, matched his season best with eight points, all in the first half, and had eight rebounds. Another freshman, Kelan Martin, scored nine points on a night the Bulldogs took only 10 3-pointers.
Holtmann couldn't have come up with a better script as Butler earned its 20th win.
''Woods did look confident. He made some plays around the basket,'' the first-year coach said. ''I think, most every shot he took was a really good shot within our offense. I thought it was fantastic. I really do.''
For Marquette, it was another miserable night in a frustrating season.
Luke Fischer finished with 17 points, three rebounds and three blocks in his return to Indiana, where he started his college career with the Hoosiers. Duane Wilson had 10 points.
But the Golden Eagles (11-16, 3-12), who had only eight scholarship players available, couldn't keep up with Butler's shooters in the second half.
''We held Butler to one three in the first half and we took a bad shot, had a turnover and when you do those two things you can't set your defense,'' coach Steve Wojciechowski said. ''Dunham got amazing looks. He's not going to miss those.''
And he certainly didn't miss his chance to help Butler seize control, either.
After helping the Bulldogs build a 37-30 halftime lead, the junior guard made back-to-back 3s to extend the lead to 44-35 with 15:53 to go. And when the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run midway through the second half, they suddenly led 59-42.
Marquette never challenged again and the Bulldogs continued pulling away -- their way.
''We were able to get some turnovers in the second half,'' Holtmann said. ''That opened it up.''
Marquette: The good news for the Golden Eagles: They had their top scorer and leading rebounder back. The bad news: They didn't play well. After missing four games with a concussion, Matt Carlino wound up with 10 points. And Juan Anderson, who missed Saturday's game against Villanova with an ankle injury, grabbed no rebounds.
Butler: It was a milestone night. Jones became the second Bulldogs' player this season to top the 1,000-point mark. Dunham moved into the top 20 on the school's career scoring list. He now has 1,319 points and 200 career 3s. Woods grabbed seven rebounds to tie Matt Howard (884) for No. 3 on the school's career list - on a night Howard's father, Stan, sang the National Anthem.
Marquette: Travels to Providence on Sunday.
Butler: Visits DePaul on Saturday.
Not only did Butler bounce back from its worst loss of the season, they did it with a big rebounding disparity, too. Butler had a 29-18 advantage on the offensive glass. But that shouldn't be a surprise. The Bulldogs came into the game with the best rebounding margin in the Big East (plus-5.4).