Unlike earlier this week, there was no drama in Hinkle on Friday evening. Butler jumped out all over UC Irvine from the beginning and put this one away early. The Bulldogs held the Anteaters to only 7 field goals in the first half and led 41-17 at the break. Paul Jorgensen led all scorers with 19 points as Butler went on to defeat UC Irvine 71-54. Baldwin and Tucker were each in double figures with 14 points each.
3 And D
This win was all about hot 3 point shooting and strong defense by the Butler Bulldogs. Aaron Thompson set the defensive tone with outstanding pressure up top and it extended all the way down the lineup. Butler forced UC Irvine into 6 offensive fouls and held them to 35% shooting on the night. According to head coach Russell Turner, "They raised the level of defense to a point where we couldn't function." Paired with 53% shooting from distance for the Bulldogs it was way too much for the Anteaters to overcome.
They Hype Is Real
Jordan Tucker is legit, and he completely changes the projection of this Butler team. He saw limited minutes once again (14) but made the most of it with 14 points and 5 rebounds. He has now played 34 minutes for Butler and has 27 points and 13 rebounds. His defense is still behind where it needs to be, but expect his minutes to expand as the season goes on. He's got a unique combination of length, athleticism, and skill that is rarely seen at Butler. His shot is one of the smoothest in the game. Tucker might be the piece Butler was missing early on in the season, and he is going to help take this team to the next level.
First Action For Bryce Golden
There will be no redshirt season for Bryce Golden. The freshman had offseason shoulder season and only started practicing fully a few weeks ago. There was speculation that the injury plus Butlers roster depth would lead to a redshirt for Golden. Coach Jordan discussed that with him and his family, but Bryce ultimately made the decision that he wanted to play. He saw early action today, and the first thing he did was pick up a charge. He finished the game with 2 points and 2 rebounds in 7 minutes of action, all at the center position. It's still unclear exactly what his role will be this season.
Aaron Thompson Is A Star
Aaron Thompson might be the most underrated player in the country. He's not going to score a lot of points on a nightly basis, but his ability to play game changing defense and initiate the offense is immensely valuable. He only took 2 shots but dished out 7 assists and is nearly up to 5 assists per game on the season. Don't be surprised if Thompson finishes his career as Butler's all time leader in assists. Players like Baldwin, Tucker, and Jorgensen are going to get much of the attention, but Aaron Thompson might be the most valuable component on this roster.