Butler collectively shot 20-58 from the field (34.5%) and 7-21 from 3 point range (33.3%), while UConn shot 24-48 (50%) from field goal range and 7-14 (50%) from ‘Rotnei Clarke range’.
In particular, big man Bryce Nze struggled getting his shot off in the paint–shooting just 1-11, while grad guard (and normally silky smooth outside shooter) Jair Bolden was a mere 1-8 when shooting three pointers.
The Bulldogs were collectively blocked 9 times by the Huskies.
If there was one bright spot for Butler, it was junior center Bryce Golden, who led the team with 19 points and was there only double-digit scorer–which included a shocking 5-7 performance from 3 point range. To put that in perspective, Golden was a prior 1-18 (5.6%) when shooting three pointers this season.
The Bulldogs just didn’t seem to have the right energy and spark from the opening tip, and it was reminiscent of their road loss to St. John’s a few games ago.
Their uninspiring play just didn’t convey much confidence that a successful comeback was even realistically possible–which was compounded by the fact that once behind, Butler struggles generating easy buckets in the open court by playing at a faster pace. The Dawgs typically like to crawl with a half-court game.
Butler only led by 3 points this entire game, while UConn’s lead was as high as 19 points.
The Huskies firmly controlled Tuesday night’s game from start to finish.
On the road, Butler just feels like a different team too often than not against Big East opponents. It’s a young team with depleted depth because of injuries, but that’s still something that needs to be addressed going forward.
The Dawgs need to start playing with some edge, toughness, and a chip on their shoulder and emulate some of the program’s ‘road warriors’ of old. If Butler’s going to wear the infamous sharp road black uniforms, they’ve got to back them up by playing well in difficult road environments.
Butler (5-8, 4-6 Big East) will host rival Xavier (10-2; 3-2 Big East) at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday night at 6:30 PM EST (FS1). The Bulldogs currently rank #86 in KenPom, while the Musketeers are #49 respectively.