This one wasn't supposed to be a game, and it never was. Butler controlled this game nearly from the tip and built a 48-23 halftime lead before cruising to a 95-67 victory over Youngstown State, who remains winless against D1 teams. Kamar Baldwin had a season high 19 points to lead all scorers. Paul Jorgensen and Kelan Martin each had 15 points, Nate Fowler had 12 points, and Christian David had a career high 10.
Butler Hit The Offensive Glass
Butler came into the game ranked 234th in the country in offensive rebounding rate at only 26.8%. There weren't a ton of chances for offensive rebounds this afternoon, but Butler certainly snatched up what was available. They corralled 8 of 16 available rebounds in the first half, nearly doubling their season rate. Things slowed down in a messy second half, but Butler still finished the game with a 38% offensive rebounding rate. Youngstown State is obviously not a good basketball team, but their defensive rebounding rate this season is about average, so this wasn't a case of Butler simply taking advantage of a terrible team. YSU is rebounding the ball at a rate nearly identical to Texas this season, who held Butler to 23% on offensive rebounds. Texas has certainly played a much more difficult schedule than YSU, but this was still major improvement for the Bulldogs.
Defensive Rebounding Slacked
The rebounding script was flipped this afternoon. Butler has been an elite defensive rebounding team this season but got beat on that side of the glass today. Butler came into the game with a defensive rebounding rate of 77%. Today that number slipped to 68% as YSU pulled in 12 offensive rebounds. It's about the only criticism from an otherwise stalwart defensive performance. The Bulldogs held YSU to 39% shooting on the night and forced 20 turnovers.
Freshman Played Well
Coach Jordan had the luxury of getting his freshman significant minutes this afternoon thanks to a huge early lead. They all took advantage of the minutes. Christian David had a career high 10 points on a perfect 5/5 shooting. LaVall was even more proud of the charge he took and loose ball he got by diving on the floor. Fowler was 6-7 from the floor with 12 points. Brunk led the team with 7 rebounds and hit both of his shots. Aaron Thompson was great as always, providing great defense and dishing out 6 assists to go with his 6 points. Gillens-Butler was 0-3 from the floor but still had his best game, hitting all 4 free throws, grabbing 4 boards, and handing out 2 assists. Fans got a good look at the future of Butler basketball today.
Butler Handled A Press With Ease
Youngstown State was in a full court press for much of the game and Butler made it look like an absolute joke. It was practically a layup drill for the Bulldogs on offense. They scored 62 points in the paint in large part from generating easy 2 on 1 opportunities after breaking the press. Butler turned it over 14 times on the day, and only a couple of those were against the press. Three came in the final 2 minutes as Butler went with 5 freshman to finish the game. YSU certainly doesn't provide the same resistance as a Big East team, but it's still good to see them completely dismantle a press with consistency.
Butler Is Ready For Purdue
Purdue is one of the best teams in the country, currently ranked #8 in the KenPom rankings. Butler is ready for them. They are playing extremely well right now. This isn't the same team that lost to Texas or Maryland. I still believe this defense is one of the best in the country and the offense is finally starting to come around. When Kelan Martin and Kamar Baldwin are scoring the ball efficiently Butler can beat anyone in the country. Purdue will likely be about a 6 point favorite next Saturday, but I'm calling it right now. Butler will continue their dominance over Purdue in the Crossroads Classic.