All the way out in Oregon, Butler fell to the Texas Longhorns 61-48 in the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational on Thursday night. It was a close contest at several points in the second half, and the Bulldogs could not find their path to a victory falling on a late Texas scoring run.
First Half Summary
As far as opening halves go, this one was dreadful for both sides with just a 22-19 halftime lead. Throughout most of the first half, it was a battle of the defenses with poor shooting from each side. It took 4:36 before one side even made a basket (ouch). Right around the final 5 minutes of the first half is where things got interesting and it looked like Texas might pull away. At the 5:37-minute mark, the Longhorns knocked down a three to give them a 7-point lead. Butler responded to their 9-3 scoring run, with a 10-4 run bringing the game right back within reach. It was not that bad of a half as it seems for the Bulldogs, who made the right strides near the end and remained very close all throughout the first 20 minutes of action.
Second Half Summary
The final half of action brought way more offense than the first half and not as dominant defenses from either side. Despite winning the tipoff with Kelan Martin knocking down a jumper on their first possession of the second half, Butler was outscored 39-29 and was very close at times just falling short. The most exciting basketball played happened in the final 10 minutes, where Butler rallied, dug themselves in a hole, and rallied again. The game was very close with 2:36 left, with the Bulldogs only down by five. Texas ended the half on a 10-2 run which sank the chances of a victory from Butler. Just like the first half, it was not that bad of a half, just simply being outplayed in a normal fashion. There should be no concern here moving forward for Butler.
Top Individual Performances
Kamar Baldwin: 15 Points (6/15 FG, 1/5 3P, 2/3 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 38 minutes
Kelan Martin: 12 Points (4/19 FG, 2/10 3P, 2/2 FT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 39 minutes
Sean McDermott: 11 Points (4/7 FG, 3/5 3P), 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 35 minutes
For the first time this season, the Butler field goal shooting percentage was under 40% which seems poor and theoretically, they could have won with the numbers they shot. They shot 19-58 (32.8%) on field goals, 6-22 (27.3%) on three-pointers, and 4-5 (80.0%) on free throws. Texas was not any better, mounting shooting splits of 22-55 (40.0%), 7-21 (33.3%), and 10-12 (83.3%).
Additionally, Butler hauled in 31 rebounds (9 Offensive, 22 Defensive) while dishing out 7 assists, 7 steals, 2 blocks, while committing 11 turnovers. The defensive playmaking was much improved over their last game against Furman, with a sizeable difference between the basic metrics.
It won’t be long before Butler receives a chance of redemption, with another game in the PK80 Invationatal against Portland State on Friday at 3:00 PM Eastern.