The Butler Bulldogs suffered their third straight loss on Tuesday night against Marquette and have now lost 5 of the program’s last 7 games, as the team is certainly trending downward in Big East conference play.
The Bulldogs got off to yet another slow start, scoring just 21 points at halftime and trailing the Golden Eagles by 12 points.
Butler did have a spirited comeback in the second half (which has become a routine), as the team trailed by as many as 18 points, falling behind 50-32 with 12:20 left.
However, Butler then went on an absolute tear, trimming the Marquette lead to a one possession game 67-70 with 15 seconds left and control of the basketball.
The Bulldogs’ best outside shooter, Jair Bolden, had a clean three point look in the closing seconds to tie the game but the shot just didn’t go down.
One of the big reasons the Bulldogs stormed back is because of transfer guard Bo Hodges, who made his debut in Butler’s starting lineup and scored 15 points (5-13 FG), 12 rebounds, and 8 assists–nearly having a triple double and at times, playing like a man possessed.
He’s looking like he could become Butler’s primary scoring option from here on out with his ability to dribble-drive and get to the rim–finishing with both hands.
Butler also received a strong performance from power forward Bryce Nze, who eclipsed 1,000 career points, and finished with 13 points (4-8 FG), 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. Meanwhile, grad shooting guard Jair Bolden chipped in 12 points on an efficient 4-10 three point shooting night.
Freshman guard Chuck Harris added 16 points (5-8 FG, 4-5 3 PT) off the bench to lead all Dawgs’ scorers.
Butler did shoot better than in prior recent losses, shooting 40.7% from the field (22-54 FG) and 43.5% from three point range (10-23). The team also got to the free throw line more than usual at a whopping 25 times, but the problem is the Dawgs only made 13 of their 25 free throw attempts (52.0%).
On the other hand, Marquette shot 61.5% (24-39) from the field.
The Bulldogs also got outrebounded 33 to 24, but where Butler stayed in this game late is that Marquette committed 21 total turnovers to the Bulldogs’ 9 turnovers.
This is shaping up to be a rebuilding season for the Bulldogs, and that’s okay. College basketball programs tend to have ebbs and flows unless that program is Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, or Duke.
The important thing is that the Bulldogs show progress and growth, that they’re playing fundamentally sound and are exhibiting the right type of energy, toughness, and heart–while playing together as one.
Their shots may not always fall.
They may go up against better teams.
But those are things that these rebuilding Dawgs can still control.
Butler (5-10, 4-8 Big East) will host DePaul (3-7, 1-7 Big East) on Saturday afternoon at 12 PM EST on FS1 next. Butler is currently ranked #96 by KenPom, while DePaul is #110 respectively. It’s one of those rare Big East conference games right now, where Butler is the favorite.