Inside Game Lifts Butler Past Penn
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- On a night when Butler's perimeter attack matched the icy temperatures outside, the Bulldogs looked inside to pull out a 70-57 victory over visiting Penn. The win on Wednesday (Jan. 2) was the Bulldogs' eighth straight.
The Bulldogs struggled to find the range from beyond the three-point arc against Penn. But sophomore Roosevelt Jones and junior Khyle Marshall ignited a hot inside game and that effort carried the No. 17-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) past a determined Penn squad.
"We won the game because of power, the interior guys, Roosevelt (Jones) and Khyle (Marshall) in particular and certainly Andrew (Smith) as well." said Butler head coach Brad Stevens. "Our guards didn't produce the way they normally do, but I thought our guys three through five played pretty well and carried us tonight."
Jones led the way from the start. He hit 10 of 15 shots from the floor and finished with a career-high 24 points and six rebounds. The 6-4 forward carried the Bulldogs in the first half with 15 points, just two shy of his previous career-high. He added nine more in the second half, despite being plagued by foul problems.
Marshall picked up the slack in the second half, scoring ten of his 14 points after intermission. He hit seven of 10 shots in the game, including five of six in the final 20 minutes, and added five rebounds.
The inside approach offset a four for 19 shooting performance from beyond the three-point arc by the Bulldogs. Butler leading scorer Rotnei Clarke, who entered the game ranked 13th in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goal shooting, hit just one of nine three-point attempts and finished with six points against the Quakers.
Penn (2-10), aided by a strong perimeter attack, kept things close throughout. The Quakers trailed by just six points, 35-29, at halftime and by just two points, 42-40, with under 14 minutes remaining. But Marshall helped ignite a 10-2 Butler run that carried the Bulldogs to their first double-figures lead in the contest.
Smith started the run with a free throw and Marshall followed with a dunk off a pass from sophomore Jackson Aldridge and a short jumper to give Butler a seven-point lead. Penn answered with a basket by Jamal Lewis, before freshman Kellen Dunham hit a three-point field goal and Marshall added a jumper to make it 52-42.
The Quakers didn't fold, battling back to 52-49, before a 10-0 Butler run gave the Bulldogs some breathing room with five minutes remaining. Jones had six of the ten points, while Dunham and Smith each added a pair of free throws.
Butler finished with a commanding 36-21 rebounding advantage, including 13 offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs out-scored their Ivy League opponent, 18-4, on second chance points. Sophomore Kameron Woods came off the bench to lead all players in rebounds with eight.
Miles Cartwright led Penn with 15 points, including three of four shots from beyond the three-point arc, while Tony Hicks added 10 points.
Dunham finished with 10 points for the Bulldogs, his fifth double-figures scoring performance in the past six games.
Butler will wrap up its brief two-game homestand with a 2 p.m. (ET) contest against New Orleans on Saturday, Jan. 5. The Bulldogs will begin Atlantic 10 Conference play on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at preseason conference favorite Saint Joseph's.