This was the response the Bulldogs needed. Butler jumped out early and never looked back on their way to a convincing 84-53 victory over Middle Tennessee State University. Jorgensen and McDermott each had a game high 21 points while Kamar Baldwin added 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in his first 0 turnover game of the season.
Perfect Response By Butler
Butler needed to respond after a sluggish performance against Dayton, and this couldn't have been much better. There's not much need for analysis when Butler blows the doors off their opponent from the very beginning. The Bulldogs controlled nearly every aspect of the game. The Bulldogs suffocating defense held the Blue Raiders to only 32% shooting and forced them to cough it up 20 times on the night. The only complaint would be their lackluster work on the glass, where Butler was out rebounded 42-33, including 18-9 on the offensive glass.
Aaron Thompson is a Difference Maker
One of the biggest stats in any game this season might be the number of fouls picked up by Aaron Thompson. Last game both his minutes and his effectiveness were limited by foul trouble. This game he only picked up 2 personal fouls, and he cashed in with 8 assists on the evening. He's one of the least noticed players in the boxscore, but his impact on the game is huge on both ends. On defense he is capable of providing pressure out top to disrupt an opponent's offense and mask Butler's lack of size at the power forward position. On offense he is capable of taking over some of the ball handling duties and allowing Kamar Baldwin to play his natural position away from the ball. He's not much of a threat to score, but his ability to break defenders down off the dribble and get into the paint opens up the offense for everyone else.
Butler Splashing in Atlantis
Everything looks good when the triples are falling. Butler connected on a tournament record 16 3s while shooting 46% from distance. That number is actually worse than it really was thanks to several misses by the bench in the final minutes. Baldwin, McDermott, and Jorgensen did nearly all of the damage by connecting 15 times from distance on only 23 tries. The Bulldogs aren't going to lose to anyone when that trio is shooting like that.
Confidence Booster For the Bench
This should be a confidence booster for everyone, but the huge lead meant the Butler bench got an extended look and a few of them played extremely well. Christian David had a couple of nice flashes to the rim, including one that ended in a poster dunk. Henry Baddley has struggled some this year, but he managed to reach double figures in this one with 10 points on 4-5 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Butler is going to need a few of those guys to step up big at points this season, so it's good to see them experience some success here in tournament play.