Stanford struggled to score and stop a potent Butler offensive attack while floundering against the Bulldogs in a 83-50 loss in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Stanford got decent scoring performances from Jeremy Green (16 points) and Josh Owens (13 points) but mustered only 6 points from the bench and 15 from the other three Cardinal starters.
Senior forward Matt Howard (who has led Butler all season following former Butler star Gordon Hayward’s departure for the NBA) played his best game of the 2010-’11 season. Howard posted 27 points, 10 rebounds, and avoided foul trouble in 29 minutes of floor time. Junior guard Shelvin Mack, who also played a vital role in the Bulldogs’ 2010 NCAA Tournament run, tacked on another 14 points while Butler center Andrew Smith scored 10.
Perhaps Stanford’s biggest problem on Saturday afternoon was its futility shooting the ball. Stanford shot only 31% from the field, 18% from three, and 63% from the free throw line. Compare that to Butler’s 46% from the field, 39% from three, and 85% from the line, and it becomes clear that Stanford never had a chance. Butler also outrebounded Stanford, 36-27, and committed 5 fewer turnovers than the Card.
The game, which CBS broadcast to audiences around the country, confirmed that Stanford needs to significantly improve the interior defense in order to succeed in future games. Howard not only lit up the scoreboard, but did so on nearly 70% shooting from the field. Smith, the other big man in Butler’s 3-guard scheme, scored his 10 points on just 4 shot attempts from the field. On the bright side, Stanford junior Jack Trotter led all players with 2 blocks.
Perhaps the most telling stat was the biggest lead that each team possessed during the game. Butler’s was 39 points; Stanford’s was 2.
With the loss Stanford drops to 6-3, while Butler improves to 6-4.
Stanford will travel to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State in Gallagher-Iba Arena on Tuesday night before returning to Maples Pavilion to host Yale, a less daunting Bulldog squad, one week later.