LaVall Jordan is off to a strong start to his Butler coaching career. The Bulldogs are halfway through their Spain tour and are off to a perfect start on the trip. Despite having to adjust to a new time zone and a new set of rules, Butler has come away victorious in each of their first two exhibition games.
On Friday the Bulldogs defeated the Madrid Generals by a score of 84-80. Kelan Martin led the way with 26 points on 11-20 shooting from the floor. Kamar Baldwin filled the stat sheet with 13 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and four steals. Wideman chipped in 13 points, McDermott scored 12 points, and Fowler had 10 points. Highlights of the game can be seen below.
The Madrid Generals were not an actual professional team, but a collection of all-stars from the area. Their top players came from the LEB Gold league, the second tier professional league in Spain. This provided some quality competition for the Bulldogs to open their trip.
"What I enjoyed was just being tested by someone else," Coach Jordan said about Butler's opening win. “We’ve been practicing, you’re going against each other trying to figure out if we’re playing good defense or bad offense or vice versa. It’s really good to get out and all be on the same team for the first time against some outside competition.”
“Late game in the second half, our defensive energy picked up,” Jordan continued. “Christian David came in and provided a spark. I thought Nate and Sean did a great job on the offensive glass. Kelan made big shots like we expect him to do. Kamar made really good decisions late when we put the ball in his hands. Everybody contributed in some way. That’s one of the big emphases of this trip, to kind of see what each guy can bring to the table. Let them all get out there.”
On Sunday morning Butler got the chance to go up against an organized professional team, the Albacete Basketball Club, a member of the LEB Silver league in Spain. This gave Butler the chance to square off against a more orchestrated opponent, but it was clearly a step down in competition, and the Bulldogs won handily by a score of 85-51. The game was streamed on Butler's Facebook page, and so you can watch a replay of the entire game.
Butler got some great production from a few players who were quiet in the opening matchup. Paul Jorgensen led the way with 20 points, while Henry Baddley was also in double figures with 13. Redshirt freshman Joey Brunk had 7 points and 7 rebounds.
The Bulldogs did most of their damage early, jumping out to a 52-21 lead by halftime. Kelan Martin scored all 9 of his points in the first half and also posted 9 rebounds. Tyler Wideman and Christian David each had 7 points.
Point guard play is one of the biggest concerns for Butler heading into next season, but that hasn't seemed warranted so far. In addition to Jorgensen's 20 points, Kamar Baldwin had several assists and looked like he belonged as a point guard. Aaron Thompson hasn't put up big numbers, but looked composed running the point and is known primarily for his defense. He was one of the first Bulldogs off the bench in both games.
Butler has started Jorgensen, Baldwin, Martin, McDermott, and Wideman in each of the first two games. The Dawgs continue their Spanish tour in Valencia on Tuesday at 1 pm eastern. They will once against match up against an All-Star team with a currently unknown roster. If wifi is available the game will again be broadcast over Facebook Live by Butler.