The process of installing a new system can be a difficult one, especially when doing so at a program that hasn’t experienced much success in recent years. That’s what Duggar Baucom, in his first season as head coach at The Citadel, is faced with as he looks to build the program into one that pressures full court and plays fast for 40 minutes. Saturday night the Bulldogs took on No. 24 Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and things got bad in a hurry.
Chris Holtmann’s Bulldogs, picked to finish third in the Big East’s preseason coaches poll, didn’t have much trouble breaking The Citadel press and found plenty of quality scoring opportunities as a result. But even with that being the case, Butler managing to score 144 points in a 73-point victory (144-71) was a shocking development.
The point total represents the most scored in a game matching Division I teams since TCU scored 153 in a win over UT-Pan American (now UT-Rio Grande Valley) in 1997 according to ESPN Stats & Information. Butler shot 63.6 percent from the field, and that percentage includes an 8-for-26 night from beyond the arc. While the perimeter shots weren’t falling at the rate Butler would have liked, they found so many looks around the basket after breaking The Citadel pressure that it didn’t matter.
How easy did Butler find it to get into the paint? They finished the game with a staggering 92 points in the paint.
Kellen Dunham scored 22 of his team-high 24 points in the first half, with Jackson Davis (eight rebounds) scoring 19 points, Roosevelt Jones (11 rebounds, four assists) and Tyler Wideman (six rebounds) adding 18 apiece and Tyler Lewis accounting for 17 to go along with three assists. All 12 Butler players scored at least two points, with seven of the 12 finishing in double figures.
While Butler should be better offensively thanks in part to the addition of NC State transfer Lewis, they’re unlikely to have it this easy in any game they play the remainder of the season.
As for The Citadel, these growing pains come with the work of establishing a new style of play. Baucom’s going to continue to work towards remaking the program in the image he wants, and that’s going to lead to some tough nights. But even with Saturday’s result being what it was, don’t expect him to suddenly back away from looking to force the tempo on both ends of the floor.