INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Kellen Dunham hit four 3-pointers and scored 24 points, leading No. 22 Butler over DePaul 83-73 Saturday.
Butler (18-6, 8-3 Big East) built a 20-point lead during the first half, shooting 60 percent from the floor and going 5 of 6 on 3-pointers.
Roosevelt Jones had 20 points and Andrew Chrabascz add 16 for Butler.
Jamee Crockett finished with 14 points for DePaul, which made 9 of 24 shots from the floor in the first half
Butler also took advantage of four DePaul turnovers in the first 6 minutes, all of which led to points. A 9-0 run helped the Bulldogs lead 40-27 at the break.
“This time of year, in a lot of cases, if your team is ready to play it’s because of your older guys,” Butlercoach Chris Holtmann said. “And I think we were ready to play and we made some shots, but it got a little bit too easy for us there, we got a little bit complacent in the second half and they made a run like we thought they might. We knew it was going to be a game of runs.”
Down 50-32 with 16 minutes left, DePaul (12-13, 6-6) went on an 18-5 run. Forrest Robinson scored eight of his nine points during the burst over a 6-minute span.
Butler and DePaul traded baskets over the next 3 minutes and the Blue Demons closed the gap to four points. But Dunham made another 3, pushing the lead to seven during a stretch where the Bulldogs outscored the Blue Demons 17-7 to stay in control.
“We only played half a game. We played so poorly in the first half,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “(Dunham) got it in transition some. (In transition) you take away the layup and then you’ve got to find him. He’s an outstanding shooter, he’s got the green light and he’s very confident.”
Dunham has scored in double figures in 22 of 23 games this season, leading the Bulldogs on offense 11 times.
“It’s been a really detailed effort on (our) part. We’re not looking ahead to anybody, or necessarily afraid of anybody,” Dunham said. “We’re going after everybody and being aggressive. I think all my teammates would agree with me. We’re just approaching every game like it’s our last.
Butler will have an entire week to prepare before hosting No. 7 Villanova on Saturday. Despite the Bulldogs performance, the Bulldogs are aware of the task ahead.
“We realize we’re going to need to be better on Saturday. There’s no question about it,” Holtmann said. “I don’t want to sit up here and say ‘It’s just another game.’ No one believes that, first of all, and it’s a discredit to these guys.
“They’ve earned the right to play a meaningful game in February. I want these guys to have a great spirited week of practice, focus on getting better and enjoy this moment.”
DePaul: The Blue Demons are last in the Big East in offensive rebounding.
Butler: The Bulldogs are 9-1 at home this season. Since walking on, Alex Barlow has 77 career starts for the Bulldogs, including the last 56 in a row.
DePaul travels to St. Johns on Wednesday.
Butler hosts No. 7 Villanova on Saturday.
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