No. 15 Butler routs Kennesaw State 93-51
INDIANAPOLIS — Interim coach Chris Holtmann knew Butler was going to have a big night.
Roosevelt Jones had 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and the No. 15 Bulldogs beat Kennesaw State 93-51 on Monday.
“You usually know if you’re not as locked in as you need to be,” Holtmann said. “I thought our guys had a really good approach today and we noticed that in shootaround.”
Kelan Martin had 17 points and Kellen Dunham added 13 for the Bulldogs (8-1), who have won four straight games.
Yonel Brown had 14 points for the Owls (3-7), who have lost three in a row. Delbert Love and Orlando Coleman each scored 11.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 26 points in the first half. They had an early 10-2 run and took a 32-15 lead when Austin Etherington converted a three-point play with 10:22 left.
Butler was 16 of 25 from the field in the first half and led 52-27 at the break.
For Kennesaw State, Butler was too much.
“They’re the 15th-ranked team in the country for a reason,” Owls coach Jimmy Lallathin said. “They did exactly what we thought they were going to do. I think we succumbed a little bit to their physicality. We couldn’t match their physicality.”
Butler took advantage of Kennesaw State’s struggles when it comes to taking care of the ball. The Owls committed 22 turnovers, and the Bulldogs finished with a season-high 17 steals.
“We felt like if we could be active in gaps, we could turn them over and that could create some offense,” Holtmann said. “We do a pretty good job of doing that anyway and we were able to do that today.”
The Bulldogs moved up eight spots in this week’s AP poll from No. 23. They knocked off in-state rival Indiana State and beat Northwestern 65-56 last week to land the team’s highest ranking since it was No. 9 in January 2013.
Dunham may be Butler’s most consistent scorer. The guard has scored in double figures each game this season and in 23 of his last 27 games. At home, he averages 17.5 points this year.
SPREADING MINUTES AROUND
Pulling away from Kennesaw State gave Holtmann the opportunity to get more players into the game for longer periods of time.
“We’ve talked about getting guys more minutes and more consistent minutes,” Holtmann said. “To have the minute distribution like it was, was a really good thing.”
Ten players saw more than 10 minutes on the court.
Kennesaw State: The Owls have had little trouble defending the paint all season. They lead the Atlantic Sun in blocks and entered Monday’s game averaging 5.3 blocks. Willy Kouassi had two more blocks against Butler, giving him 21 for the season.
Butler: The Bulldogs have won 18 straight games against non-conference opponents at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Kennesaw State travels to Youngstown State on Dec. 17.
Butler visits Tennessee on Sunday.
*Photo courtesy of Michael Hickey/Getty Images