Butler's trip to DePaul earlier this season was mostly a forgettable one, as the Dawgs played poorly and needed overtime to scrape past last place DePaul. There was no drama this afternoon. The Bulldogs used a 21-0 run through halftime to pull away from DePaul and win 82-66. Nate Fowler led the Bulldogs with 15 points and Tyler Lewis added 10 points and 8 assists.
Player of the Game: Tyler Lewis
Tyler Lewis was unbelievable during a 2nd half stretch that put the game out of reach. He finished the game with 10 points on 4-5 shooting and had 8 assists to only 1 turnover. He also picked up a steal and drew two charges on defense. Lewis combined with Savage to give Butler 19 points (7-10 shooting) and 10 assists at the point guard position. Both players have accepted their role and are thriving in it. It's turned out the preseason concerns about the point guard position were misguided.
Nate Fowler Keeps Getting Better
Nate Fowler's confidence just keeps growing offensively. He had 15 points on 7-9 shooting, and most of that came on back to the basket post moves down low. He's clearly grown into an offensive force for the Bulldogs. Fowler came into the game with an offensive rating of 143.3, which would be best in the nation if he played enough minutes to quality. It's the defensive end now where Fowler needs to improve. He can be and All Big East quality player if he can earn more minutes defensively.
Taking Care of the Ball
It's not a sexy stat, but the biggest reason Butler scored 82 points is because they took care of the basketball. Butler had only 4 turnovers until the final 90 seconds when the end of the bench coughed it up twice and intentionally took a shot clock violation with 1 second remaining. They also had 18 assists, which shows just how good their ball movement was. It's shouldn't come as a surprise that the assist to turnover ratio looks great when Butler's point guards are playing well.
Is Kelan Martin Back?
There's nothing like a home stretch against St. John's and DePaul to help regain confidence. Kelan has scored 33 points on 50% shooting and pulled down 17 rebounds during the homestand. Just as importantly he's only turned the ball over twice. Martin's offensive rating of 134 this game was his best all season. If Martin is playing with confidence Butler is a top 15 team. Wednesday at Villanova will certainly tell us a lot more.
Butler's NCAA seeding took a hit during a 4 game stretch where they fell 3 times. They could get that all back with a victory on Wednesday. They travel to Villanova to take on arguably the best team in the country. It's a tall order, but for the most part Butler has been at their best when playing the best this season. Butler already knocked off Villanova at home, so the Wildcats will be out for revenge.