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Balanced effort helps Butler throttle IUPUI

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at Tom101010.

Bulldogs bite city rival hard and early

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 6:16 am

An all-around team effort helped propel Butler to a commanding 87-55 win over intra-city foe IUPUI Wednesday in a non-league contest inside Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Five Bulldogs scored in double figures, including senior guard Rotnei Clarke and freshman guard Kellen Dunham, who each scored a game-high 17 points.

In front of a home crowd of 5,533, Butler jumped out to a 20-2 lead, holding IUPUI to 1-of-9 shooting during the first 9:25 of regulation.

"I thought we were good offensively for the majority of the game," Butler coach Brad Stevens said in a release. "I thought we were really good defensively for the first 13 minutes, and I thought our defense for the first eight minutes of the game was outstanding"

The Bulldogs (6-2) had eight first-half steals, finishing with 14 for the game.

The last time Butler recorded 14 or more steals in a contest was during a 77-48 win over Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 18, 2000.

Behind 12 first-half points from Clarke, the Bulldogs continued to fire on all cylinders, carrying a 52-21 lead into halftime.

Butler's 52 points were the most first-half points for the Bulldogs since Dec. 8, 2001 when Butler scored 58 en route to beating Evansville 101-65.

All 14 Bulldog players received playing time, and all but three got into the scoring column.

Stevens experimented with a new starting lineup in the game, giving sophomore guard Alex Barlow his first career start and using Dunham as an offensive catalyst off the bench.

Both players responded well, with Barlow hauling down four rebounds and dishing out three assists, while Dunham contributed 17 of Butler's 46 bench points.

"We talked about that with Kellen [Dunham]," Stevens said. "His minutes aren't going to change. But Kellen, like he is, took it the right way and viewed it as an opportunity to come in and spark our team, and he did that."

Clarke, who was playing in his 100th career collegiate game, led Butler with four 3-pointers. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 11-of-21 from beyond the arc.

Butler is 56-6 under Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.

The Bulldogs connected on 60 percent of their field goal attempts in the win.

Butler has now won all four all-time meetings against the Jaguars (2-4).

The Bulldogs will look to continue their three-game winning streak when they visit Big Ten foe Northwestern on Saturday.

"What's really impressive to me about Northwestern is how well they're defending," Stevens said. "I know how good their offensive stuff is—it's always been really good and really hard to guard, but they have a system right now, and they are playing it and playing it well."

The Wildcats (7-2) are coming off a 74-70 win over Baylor Tuesday.