As the first day of classes for the 2013 fall semester at Butler University approaches, the Bulldogs basketball team is nowhere near campus, yet alone the U.S.
Early August offered the squad a fantastic get-away from the daily routine of constant practice and training. The team gathered their equipment, bathing suits, any other essentials, and boarded a plane and flew down under to play in a series of games against top Australian basketball teams.
In their opening game, the Bulldogs pulled away with a 77-65 win over Norths Bears Invitational Team. Sophomore Kellen Dunham collected a game-high 22 points, with 15 of the points coming from five shots from beyond the three-point arc. He totaled 11 attempts from beyond the arc. This is good news for fans, as Dunham will be a major asset to Butler’s success for the 2013-14 season. Senior Erik Fromm also chipped in for the victory with 14 points. Australian-native Jackson Aldridge, a junior guard, started in the game played in his home country. Aldridge added two points for the Bulldogs win. Combined, Fromm, senior Khyle Marshall and junior Kameron Woods had 23 rebounds. The Bulldogs recorded 40 rebounds, seven more than the Bears.
August 8, two days after the victory over the Bears, brought another close and intense game for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs came back and completed a well-fought battle against the Sydney Kings to win with a score of 82-76. Woods commanded the tempo of the last portion of the game, scoring five points in the last minutes of play, igniting the team to victory. He finished the game with 11 points while recording a game-high 15 rebounds. On the day, all around, Woods proved to be a major reason why Butler came out with a win, as he also added two block shots and three assists. Along with Woods, Marshall helped out the scoring late in the game by adding four out of the last five points. He collected nine other points in the victory. Fromm led the scoring for the Bulldogs with a total of 18 points, while Aldridge showed why he belongs at a strong-collegiate basketball school, scoring five points before the half to cut the Kings’ lead down to six. Although Dunham struggled from beyond the arc, unsuccessfully hitting 11 shots, scored 10 points.
For the third game of the Australian tour, Butler ran into huge trouble against the Australia National Team. The national team, also known as the Australian Boomers, play out of Canberra. The Boomers went on top early and steadfastly continued with the pace and momentum of the game. The Bulldogs lost 96-57 to a team with a player who has a career in San Antonio, TX competing for the recent NBA Finals runner-ups, the Spurs. Dunham again led the Bulldogs, tallying 16 points, while Fromm, Marshall and upcoming Freshman Nolan Berry collected seven points each for a combined 21 points.
The Bulldogs continue their journey in Australia, facing the Cairns Taipans on Sunday in their fourth and final game of the tour.