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Butler Defeats Eastern Michigan 94-55

The Butler Bulldogs defeat the Eastern Michigan Eagles by a score of 94-55, including Butler putting up a devastating SIXTY points in the second half.

If you couldn’t watch because of the FS1 Whiparound coverage, I’ll try to paint a complete picture of what happened in this game, as best as I can.


Recap


Pierre Brooks scored the first bucket for the Bulldogs this season, and was consistent offense for Butler from the jump.

Neither team looked great early on. Butler had some slower starts in the exhibitions, and this game was no different. At the Under Eight media timeout (12 minutes into the game) it was 22-17 Butler. The Dogs were getting outrebounded and had a few turnovers. It was a really sloppy start both ways.


Butler maintained their lead despite a couple of threes from Eastern Michigan behind some excellent play from Pierre Brooks. If one guy had to be labeled my “Player of the Game,” it’s most certainly Brooks. His complete and dynamic offensive skillset was on full display in the first half, when nobody else was generating offense. He created looks for himself and others, making some huge plays in the process.

He's a key option for this offense in the halfcourt, he’s certainly someone to watch. He finished this game with an efficient 16 points (7/12 from the field, 2/6 from three), five boards and two assists in 26 minutes of play. He was very impressive.


Anyway, Butler was able to maintain its lead entering the half, despite some pretty poor play. Butler entered the half up 34-26, despite having nine turnovers, getting outrebounded 18-15 (7-1 on the offensive glass) and shooting 2/11 from the three-point line. It wasn’t a pretty half, but they were winning.

The second half started and it looked like a different team left the locker room. Jahmyl Telfort continued his excellent play and ended up being the game's leading scorer at 18 points (6/10, 1/2 from three, 5/6 from the line). His game is so smooth, he just finds ways to get inside and scores once he gets there. He can finish in so many different ways and even had a handful of possessions where he initiated the offense.


The wings on this team are something Butler didn’t have last year. These two can effectively get downhill and score once they get there. Butler didn’t have a dynamic slashing wing, or really anyone who was a natural wing, and having the toughness and versatility of these guys is a weapon this team just didn’t have.

This game was competitive for a while, Butler was only up 10 with 13:57 left. Then something turned, DJ Davis got to the lane for an easy two, Pierre Brooks hit a three, Finley Bizjack scored a layup (in between two buckets from EMU), then Andre Screen had seven straight points (one beautiful pass from Bizjack to a dunk, a tough putback jam and a big time And-One), and that put this game out of reach.


Butler was able to pull away late and absolutely poured it on as this game went deeper. In the final 5:44, Butler outscored EMU 21-4. This late game run put this game on ice if it wasn’t already (it was).


This game was close for a while before Butler pulled away and ran up the score. The game was closer than the final score indicated.


Analysis


It wasn’t a perfect performance. It was closer than the score indicates. Butler did still lose the offensive rebounding battle 12-7, and the three-point jumpers just weren’t falling today (6/22), but a win is a win, and if it can get better than this (it can) that’s a good thing.

Jalen Thomas only played 18 minutes, but did lead the team in rebounds with seven. Screen was able to play an effective 15 minutes, but how much can we expect of Screen in Big East play? He's looked good so far, we've just yet to see him against someone his size.


The threes don’t worry me. It’s game one, and Butler had some good looks that went in and out. Every team will have games where they don’t hit shots. There are still questions with this team (re. consistency, defense, rebounding, etc.) but this was certainly a good performance. Butler was able to rebound and adjust off of a bad first half, making the scoreboard look exactly as it should.


The production Butler gets on the wings this year from Telfort and Brooks will carry this team. Those two were the engines that drove this offense and provided Butler with downhill bucket-getters that they hadn’t had in a while. It completely changes the dynamic of this team, in a very welcomed way.

Also, one thing I didn’t notice until writing this recap, was that Posh Alexander ended with eight assists, to go with his 13 points and pressure defense. Having a true floor general is another thing this team was missing last season. Eric Hunter was playing out of position and it showed.


Those three guys reflect a change in how Butler basketball will look. They’re aggressive, get downhill and are very athletic. They play with pace (72 offensive possessions today, averaged 68.4 last season) and an intensity that is infectious. Whether it shows in the win column in Big East games, this team is very different from the Butler team we saw last season. They’ll be fun to watch, that’s for sure.


Highlights

Go Dawgs!


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