Butler struggled a bit in its season-opening win against crosstown rival IUPUI on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs were without veteran point guard Aaron Thompson, suspended for the first three games of the season for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Without him, Butler committed 14 turnovers and had only 11 assists in a 56-49 victory over the equally cold-shooting Jaguars. Thompson’s absence shouldn’t be as big a problem when the Bulldogs host Central Arkansas on Friday night in Indianapolis.
Central Arkansas dropped a 96-63 decision to Saint Louis on Tuesday as the Billikens shot 51.4 percent overall and 40.9 percent from long distance.
“We started the season, and just like a lot of coaches, we had no idea how we would look,” UCA coach Anthony Boone said. “But I thought we certainly played almost up to our potential the first half. I felt like for 14 or 15 minutes we were the better team. But then that escalated the other way very quickly. And we have to improve on that.”
The score was tied with 8:43 left in the first half, but the Billikens built a 43-32 lead by halftime before blowing the game open after intermission.
“We have to get our young guys to grow up maybe a little faster than they planned to,” said Boone, whose team moved this year from the Southland Conference to the Atlantic Sun. The Bears were picked last in the preseason poll.
As for Butler, coach LaVall Jordan said of the IUPUI game, “We are embracing winning gritty. You’ve got to be able to embrace winning in different ways. This group, on the whole, is a group that can do that. It was a good team win.”
But he admitted there were “a lot of lessons to learn.”
Chuck Harris was the driving force on opening night, repeatedly getting to the foul line and making 10 of 13 free throws to finish with 16 points. He also had a team-high four assists.
–Field Level Media