The Butler Bulldogs men’s basketball team collected its fourth consecutive win by defeating the University of Evansville 68-59 at Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 21.
The first half featured a competitive and back-and-forth effort by both squads. Both teams exchanged leads multiple times throughout – only by one or two points.
However, with six seconds remaining in the half, Purple Aces main basket-shooter, D.J. Balentine successfully made a 3-point jump shot, taking a 32-29 lead with him and his team into the locker room for the half time intermission.
The Purple Aces’ ace, Balentine posed a major threat to the Bulldogs’ defense throughout the whole game. Single-handedly, he scored more points than Dunham, Fromm and Marshall combined in the first half. His efforts did not fall short in the second half – rather, enhanced. Storming down the court, Balentine was determined to upset the Big East Conference team. He added 15 points for the Purple Aces in the second half, totaling for 26 points in the entire game. No one Bulldog could seem to successfully contest or block against Balentine. In 21 field goal attempts, he made nine, while sinking any and all of his free throw attempts (7).
As I stated, no one Bulldog could contain Balentine. Instead, the team as a whole came back from the half, with victory intentions, utilizing offensive strikes to counter Balentine’s advances. I say Balentine’s advances, not the Purple Aces advances, because he was the only player to score in the double digits.
Senior Khyle Marshall and junior Alex Barlow sought to change the outcome of the second half. Together, the two combined for 21 points, seven rebounds, and two steals in the half. The Barlow-Marshall second half show enabled the Bulldogs to collect their ninth win on the season. In that half alone, Barlow impressively did not miss one field goal or 3-pointer attempt. With five free throw attempts in the half, he scored four. Using his drive and strength, Marshall collected two offensive and four defensive rebounds in the half. He also did hit all four of his free throws.
Junior Kameron Woods and sophomore-phenom Kellen Dunham helped throughout the entire game. Dunham competed for a full 40 minutes of play, collecting five rebounds, two steals, and scoring 15 points. On the defensive side, Woods stood his ground, collecting 10 rebounds. Offensively he chipped in as well, tallying eight points for the Bulldogs while rebounding 13 shots.
A three-point difference going into the second half did not phase the Bulldogs. The team collectively added 39 points in the half, while limiting the Purple Aces to 27 points. The Bulldogs erased their weakness of missing free throws in the game. The team was 69.6-percent for free throw attempts.
Unsurprisingly, the Bulldogs came from behind to win this game. I do not think the bulldogs can ever just win a came without bringing fans to the brink of a heart attack.
With an improved 9-2 record, the Bulldogs hope to extend their win streak on Saturday, Dec. 28 against New Jersey Institute of Technology at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The game tips off at 1 p.m.