Butler got 26 points from senior Khyle Marshall, including 21 in the second half and overtime, as they were able to get by the Vanderbilt Commodore 85-77 at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs came out of the gate slow, falling behind 8-0 at the first media timeout, as they played sloppy and settled for long, contested jump shots. They settled down thereafter, got into a groove, and took a 38-30 lead into halftime.
Butler extended the lead to 14 eight minutes into the second half, but Vanderbilt clawed their way back into it. The game was tied at 70 with 11 seconds to play and Eric McClellan of Vanderbilt shooting the second of two free throws. He missed the shot, but was able to gather his own rebound. He then took an untimely traveling violation, giving the ball to Butler with two seconds remaining in regulation. However, Kellen Dunham missed a desperation heave as time expired.
Besides that mishap, McClellan was stellar all night long. He finished with 29 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a block and steal.
The end of regulation and the majority of overtime was predominately the Khyle Marshall show for the Bulldogs. He scored their final eight points in regulation and six of their first eight in overtime. He was getting to the rim at will and finishing with crafty moves at the bucket.
Dunham, who finished with 16 points and 3 of 7 from three, showed an added versatility that he didn’t quite possess as a freshman last year. He was putting the ball on the floor, stepping back, and burying shots with defenders in his face. Dunham and Marshall are dangerous offensive weapons that will give opponents fits all season.
Kameron Woods finished with 10 points and 9 rebounds, and Elijah Brown and Rene Castro gave the Bulldogs solid point guard play with Alex Barlow in foul trouble most of the night.
This win isn’t necessarily a great non-conference victory, but it should be considered a good one. Especially when considering the rest of the Bulldogs’ schedule. Besides the Old Spice Classic that they will be participating in from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 where they could potentially play Oklahoma St., Memphis and/or Saint Josephs’, their next best game that is on the schedule is Purdue on a neutral court. Making tonight’s victory over Vanderbilt potentially their best non-conference win of the season.
Butler next plays at Ball State this Saturday (Nov. 23) at 2 PM EST.