Valparaiso, Ind. - An explosive three-point barrage in the first half followed by strong inside shooting in the second led the way for the Bulldogs, as Butler notched a season-high point total in an 83-70 drubbing of Indiana State in the first game of the State Farm Hoosier Classic on Saturday (Dec. 1).
With the flurries flying outside of Valparaiso's Athletics-Recreation Center, the threes were flying indoors, as Butler drained 10 treys in the first half to go up, 45-33, at the break. The long-range onslaught would end there, however, as the Bulldogs went without a trey in the second but continued to click on all cylinders inside the arc to build up as much as a 20-point lead and hold on for the win.
A three-pointer by Brittany Bowen less than two minutes into the contest gave the Bulldogs their first points of the game and set the tone for what would turn into a long-range clinic in the opening stanza.
Indiana State would give the Bulldogs a battle in the early going, building up a five-point lead after a three-pointer by Kelsey Luna gave the Sycamores a 13-8 margin.
Treys by Candyce Brown, Candace Jones and Cassie Freeman helped the Bulldogs rally back to take a 19-15 lead with under 10 minutes to go in the period, but ISU would answer with a 7-2 run to take a 22-21 lead with 7:24 to go.
It would be the last time the Sycamores would sniff the lead, as Butler erupted for four-straight three-pointers, including a pair by Brown, to send the Bulldogs to a 33-26 advantage.
The three-pointer went away after the break but the scoring did not as Butler went 14-of-32 from inside the arc to power the offense. The first 14 points of the second half came off jumpers and lay-ups, with Akande netting three, Jones posting a pair and Candace Bain adding one to help the Bulldogs maintain a 13-point edge.
An 11-2 run by the Sycamores midway through the second period cut the Butler advantage to six at 59-53 with less than 11 minutes to play, but a commanding 16-2 trek by the Bulldogs, keyed by eight points from Lester and six from Akande, gave them their largest lead of the contest at 80-60 and all but secured the win.
Akande paced all scorers with 20 points and fell just one rebound shy of a double-double with nine. Lester finished with 16 points and a season-high 10 rebounds, while Jones added 14 points and a career-best 10 boards. Brown added double-figure scoring with a career-best 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field with three treys.
Butler returns to action on Monday (Dec. 3) when they open-up a four-game homestand against Oakland City beginning at 7:00 p.m.