Bulldogs Win Fifth Straight
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Senior Khyle Marshall scored 21 points, junior Kameron Woods grabbed 12 rebounds and Butler closed out its non-conference schedule with a 66-48 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Dec. 28). The win was Butler's fifth straight and lifted the Bulldogs to 10-2 on the season.
Marshall posted his sixth straight game in double-figures and topped 20 points for the fourth time in the last 10 outings. He hit eight of 10 shots from the field, including five of seven in the second half.
Woods, who entered the game as the leading rebounder in the BIG EAST Conference, reached double-figures in rebounds for the third straight game and for the seventh time this season. He helped Butler to a 45-27 rebounding advantageover the visiting Highlanders.
The Bulldogs, who never trailed in the game, opened the contest with a 14-4 run, including six points by Marshall. NJIT, playing the second of four straight road games, never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
"I liked the way our team played, especially at the beginning. I thought our focus was there, we were efficient on both sides of the basketball. We defended," said Butler head coach Brandon Miller of his team's effort.
Butler took a 13-point, 29-16, lead to the locker room at halftime and then opened the second period with a 13-7 run to stretch the margin to 42-23. The Bulldogs kept the lead at double-digits for the remainder of the game and matched the game-high, 19-point advantage four more times in the final six minutes.
Freshman Rene Castro came off the bench and scored a career-high 10 points to join Marshall in double-figures. Woods and sophomore Kellen Dunham each added nine points for the Bulldogs. Junior Alex Barlow scored seven points, and senior Eric Fromm added six points and six rebounds.
Damon Lynn led the Highlanders (6-9) with 11 points.
The game was the final pre-conference tune-up for the Bulldogs, who will begin BIG EAST play against nationally-ranked Villanova on New Year's Eve.
"It's going to be a great atmosphere in Hinkle Fieldhouse," Miller said of his team's inaugural BIG EAST game. "It's going to be exciting to play in the first BIG EAST basketball game and one we'll prepare very hard for over the next two days. We're looking forward to it."
Villanova will bring a BIG EAST-best 11-1 record and a "Top 25" national ranking to the conference-opener. The Wildcats, ranked No. 8 at the time, suffered their first defeat of the season at No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday.
The Butler-Villanova game will be the fourth contest of the day-long BIG EAST New Year's Eve Marathon and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 at 7:30 p.m.