No. 22 Butler rolls by Missouri State 93-59 in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) Butler coach Chris Holtmann already knew his team could run and score at a pace most teams will struggle to match this season. He's eager to see how the No. 22 Bulldogs respond when the offense doesn't come so easily.
Kelan Martin scored 18 points and No. 22 Butler put on another offensive show to beat Missouri State 93-59 on Thursday in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
Andrew Chrabascz also had 18 points, and the Bulldogs (2-0) flirted with cracking the 100-point mark for the second time to open the season. Butler scored a program-record 144 points last weekend in the opener against The Citadel, then rolled again by getting out in transition at full speed and sharing the ball against the Bears (0-2).
''It's a really small sample size,'' Holtmann said. ''I would caution into reading too much into two games. I think we'll know more at the end of this week.''
Maybe, but this much is inarguable: Butler has started the season in a full-speed sprint on offense.
Butler shot 60 percent and made 8 of 17 3-pointers, yet committed just eight turnovers in a clean offensive performance. The Bulldogs also had 23 assists on 33 baskets.
''Today we got out in transition and just started going,'' point guard Tyler Lewis said. ''And we have great playmakers on this team who can know to make the right play at a fast speed.''
The Bulldogs certainly got off to a fast start in San Juan and led by 24 points by halftime. They didn't need a big day from preseason all-Big East picks Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones, instead finishing with plenty of balance behind Martin and Chrabascz.
''They're an offensive machine at this point,'' Missouri State coach Paul Lusk said. ''You're not going to beat many people when you let them shoot 60 percent.''
Dequon Miller scored 15 points to lead the Bears, who fell to 6-35 against ranked opponents. They shot just 34 percent, including a 2-for-15 showing behind the arc, and couldn't keep up once Butler got rolling.
Butler: Dunham finished with 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting, and Jones had six points and 10 rebounds. … Butler had a 40-32 rebounding advantage. … Ten players scored for the Bulldogs.
Missouri State: Jarred Dixon scored 11 points in 23 minutes as the only player other than Miller to reach double figures. … Missouri State committed just 11 turnovers. … This is the Bears' first trip to the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
Butler's offense is shooting 62 percent through the first two games. The Bulldogs also have 50 assists against 19 turnovers, a ratio of 2.6-to-1 on the season.
Lewis, a North Carolina State transfer, is seeing his first action with the Bulldogs after sitting out last season. He had nine points and 10 assists with no turnovers in 25 minutes after scoring 17 in the opener.
''He's just a great floor general – knows when to pick up the pace, he knows when to slow it down, just always under control as you guys all see,'' Chrabascz said. ''It's unbelievable to play with him on the court.''
While Butler's offense had little trouble getting shots, Missouri State found itself struggling to convert. The Bears made just 8 of 26 shots (31 percent) in the first half and 17 of 30 free throws for the game.
''We are trying to manufacture baskets,'' Lusk said, ''and they're coming down picking us apart, getting what they want.''
Butler advanced to play Temple in the second round Friday.
Missouri State will play Minnesota in the consolation round Friday.
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