Butler Uses Strong Start To Beat Raiders
The Butler men's basketball team returned home to the friendly confines of Hinkle Fieldhouse on Thursday where it picked up a 64-53 win over Wright State.
The Raiders (11-13, 6-6) hit just one of their first six shot attempts, allowing Butler to jump out to a 15-4 lead.
"If you're not ready out of the gate, Butler tries to knock you out," Wright State coach Billy Donlon said. "Our kids weren't ready for a street fight. The game was lost in the first ten minutes."
Over the next eight minutes, Wright State would respond, however, narrowing its deficit to five.
The Raiders appeared to be in control until Butler sophomore guard Chrishawn Hopkins drew contact on a driving layup and converted the ensuing free throw to give Butler a 29-21 lead. Hopkins finished with a team-high 13 points, his highest offensive output since Nov. 27 vs. Indiana.
Due in part to a 62 percent shooting performance, the Bulldogs (13-11, 7-5) never trailed in the first half.
With Butler leading 35-23 with 27 seconds to play in the half, Hopkins misfired on a jumper, allowing Wright State sophomore forward Cole Darling to come down with the rebound.
As time expired, Darling hoisted a three-quarter-court shot that found the bottom of the net and let the Raiders go into the locker room trailing 35-26.
"I was worried how that would affect us coming out of the locker room," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "I thought it would be an emotional downer, but I was really proud of the way we started the second half."
Behind several strong individual performances, Butler continued its solid play in the second half, extending its lead to as many as 15.
Sophomore forward Erik Fromm scored 10 points, his second consecutive game in double figures. Fromm was four-of-five from the field and hit both of his three points attempts.
"The more we can pick and pop, the more that spreads the floor," Fromm said. "It gives Andrew [Smith] more room to duck in low and our guards more room to drive and operate."
Wright State junior forward Armond Battle hit five-of-six 3-pointers and led all scorers with 18 points.
Butler held Wright State junior guard Julius Mays to just two first-half points and eight total points. Mays entered the game as the Horizon League's fifth best scorer, averaging more than 14 points per game.
The Bulldogs, winners of four of their last six games, will look to continue their winning ways when they host Detroit on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and is set to tip at noon EST.