Following a tough loss to Seton Hall at home on Wednesday night, it felt like the #5 Butler Bulldogs would come out with a chip on their shoulder against the DePaul Blue Demons on the road–who were otherwise winless (0-4) in Big East conference play.
Instead, the Bulldogs didn’t come out with the necessary energy, toughness, and execution against an improved Blue Demons squad at Windtrust Arena.
Butler committed an uncharacteristic amount of turnovers–finishing with a whopping 17 turnovers, couldn’t stop the hot shooting of DePaul–who shot 41.5% (22-53 FG) from the field and 78.9% from the free throw line (15-19 FT)–having shot a lowly 63.8% on the season.
It showed in the final box score:
DePaul 79, Butler 66.
It was a consecutive Big East loss for the Bulldogs, and the first time Butler has lost back-to-back games all season.
The Blue Demons led by as many as 21 points in this one, and while the Bulldogs cut a 16 point first half deficit to just 4 points (31-35) at one time with 2:17 left in the first half, it was pretty much all downhill from there.
Butler never led from start to finish, and it just didn’t seem like it was the ‘Dawgs’ day’ as far as careless turnovers, shots falling (and seemingly always hitting for the Blue Demons on the other end), and the officiating felt slightly unbalanced–as Butler could never seemingly catch a break.
Butler looked a lot more like last year’s team, who often struggled bringing the necessary intensity game-in and game-out, committed more sloppy turnovers, and didn’t defend nearly as well.
Shooting guard Kamar Baldwin led the way for the Bulldogs with 16 points (6-16 FG), 3 rebounds, an assist, and two steals.
The Blue Demons got big afternoons from junior forward Paul Reed with 23 points (8-9 FG) and 9 rebounds, as well as senior guard Jalen Coleman-Lands–who had 20 points (4-7 FG, 3-5 3 PT, and was 9-11 from FT).
The road doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs in Big East play, who will travel to #14 Villanova (14-3, 4-1 Big East) next on Tuesday night.
Following the loss, Butler dropped from #7 to #11 in the KenPom rankings and will assuredly drop in the AP Poll next week after two straight Big East losses.