VMI loses at #18 Butler, 93-66
The #18 Butler Bulldogs took a 20-point lead in the opening 12 minutes and went on to a 93-66 win over the VMI Keydets in non-conference basketball action Monday night at Hinkel Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Julian Eleby led the Keydets with 21 points, but VMI (3-5) was held to just three bench points and Butler (7-1) shot 54.5% from the floor en route to the victory.
The homestanding Bulldogs led 39-19 at the 8:12 mark of the first half, and although the Keydets played Butler within seven points therest of the way, they could not overcome the home team’s quick start.
In addition to Eleby, VMI saw QJ Peterson finish with 17 points and Trey Chapman add 15. Kelan Martin led Butler with 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting.
Butler’s 39-19 game-opening run was fueled by an impressive effort on the offensive glass. Over the first 11:42 – the length of the run – the Bulldogs had just two missed shots on which they did not grab an offensive board. When former NCAA Tournament star Roosevelt Jones converted a three-point play with 8:12 left in the half, it was 39-19, BU.
That margin grew to 30 late in the half before VMI scored six of the final eight points of the period. The Bulldogs did stretch the lead to a game-high 35 early in the second half, but the second half was much closer in all. The Keydets held Butler, the second-highest scoring team in the land, to 36 points – and scored 35 of their own – but it was not enough to overcome the early deficit.
All told, Butler hit 36 of 66 (54.5%) from the floor and 10 of 21 (47.6%) from long range. The Bulldogs held the Keydets to 37.1% from the field (23 of 62) and 9 of 27 from three-point range. The Keydets, who came into the game fifth in Division I in free throw percentage, were also an uncharacteristic 11 of 16 (68.8%) from the charity stripe.
VMI basketball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets play host to Navy at Cameron Hall. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
Press Conference: VMI Head Coach Dan Earl
“Butler really shares the ball and has a variety of guys that can beat you scoring the ball, but they are unselfish as well. Obviously, we didn’t get off to the start we wanted to, but I was proud of the way the guys responded in the second half.”
“In the second half I thought we competed defensively better and our ball movement was much better. Unfortunately you can’t wait and dig yourself a hole and try to get out in the second half. But Butler is a sound team and I was proud of our guys for responding. “
“I thought Julian (Eleby) played well especially in the second half. He was passing the ball as well as making a couple of shots himself. Trey Chapman was able to stretch the floor a little bit – coming off ball screens when we’re making the right play. Phil Anglade got himself going in the second half. We’ve trying to keep him out of foul trouble, but part of that is Phil needs to learn the flow of the game. The game is being refereed differently this year with the rule changes. Phil has to adjust to that and I feel he was much more energetic on both ends of the floor in the second half.”
“There are some positives we can take out of the game but also some negatives and things we have to get better at as we get ready for our upcoming non-conference contests and Southern Conference play.”