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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 28 St. John's at Butler

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CHICAGO — The Butler Bulldogs are in a precarious position as the regular season enters its twilight and teams jockey for post-season positions. The Bulldogs picked up some confidence on Saturday in a dominant 82-63 win over a struggling DePaul squad.

Most prognosticators have the Bulldogs a solid “OUT” as far as the tournament is concerned. A win over DePaul, who is now 3-26 on the season amidst a mid-season coaching change and a lack of competitive talent, will not do much to help the Dawgs in the long run.

Still, it was important for head coach Thad Matta that his squad find the win column again.

“This was a big win for us,” Matta said. “Just from the standpoint of, you’re playing a team that hasn’t won in the league, there is some pressure on you. I thought defensively we played as well as we’ve played in a long time.”

The glaring problem the Bulldogs have had of late is getting off to slow starts and fighting an uphill battle all game long in their last few contests. Against a team like DePaul, tied at 9-9 four minutes into the game would certainly constitute a slow start.

The Blue Demons kept making things tough for the Dawgs midway through the half as the Dawgs trailed 19-15. A three-pointer at that juncture by Pierre Brooks ignited a 17-0 run in which Butler was able to get the separation they had long struggled to get against teams prior.

Still, the half was not without its challenges as Butler went the final three minutes without scoring from the field. They took a 45-27 lead into halftime despite that dry spell.

The aforementioned defense from Coach Matta was anchored by Posh Alexander. He would only contribute two points, but he dished out a season-high nine assists which opened up scoring for the likes of DJ Davis.

Davis, who has had the toughest time scoring over Butler’s five-game skid, was able to rattle off 24 points shooting 9-of-13 from the field. Five of those nine shots were from behind the arc.

“That’s what he does,” Matta said. “To see the ball go through the basket was big for him. He’d been a little cold these last five games. So good to see him play with some confidence.”

Jalen Thomas added 15 points of his own and Brooks finished the day with 16 points.

The door is still open for Butler to squeak into the field of 68 come late March. With a net ranking of 69, that places Butler among the first or next four out according to leading bracket experts. The one thing that is keeping Butler around is the fact that the Dawgs are undefeated against Quad-3 and Quad-4 teams, which many other teams in the Big East, such as Seton Hall, cannot say.

Looking ahead, Butler needs to close out the regular season with a win against Xavier at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday. After that, Butler will need to pick up more Quad-1 wins or flat-out win the Big East post-season tournament to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament.

The post Butler Snaps Losing Streak With Dominant Win Over DePaul appeared first on WIBC 93.1 FM.

Butler Snaps Losing Streak With Dominant Win Over DePaul  was originally published on wibc.com

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