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Penn State, Butler boast high-flying offenses as matchup approaches

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Butler Bulldogs center Manny Bates (15) grabs the ball from Davenport Panthers Marcedus Leech Jr. (5) on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Butler Bulldogs lead at the half agains the Davenport Panthers.

Ncaa Basketball Butler Basketball Vs Davenport Exhibition Davenport At Butler Bulldogs
Credit: Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Two games into the season, Penn State already is earning a reputation as a formidable offensive squad.

The Nittany Lions hope to author a third straight dominant performance Monday when Butler pays a visit to University Park, Pa., as part of the Big Ten versus Big East Gavitt Tip-Off Games.

Penn State (2-0) has scored at least 90 points in back-to-back outings for the first time since December 2016 and has drained 34 3-pointers in its first two games, including a school-record 18 in a season-opening win over Winthrop.

Most recently, the Nittany Lions shot 70.4 percent in the second half (and 57.9 percent overall) in a 90-65 victory over Loyola Maryland on Thursday. Camren Wynter paced Penn State with 18 points in that one, while Jaden Pickett dished out 11 assists.

“We’re getting contributions from a lot of different guys,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “(We had) 21 assists after having a big 24 the other night. When we share the ball like that, it’s contagious. We’ve got a bunch of guys that can make plays off the dribble, that can shoot open threes. So, it opens up a lot of stuff for us.”

Butler (1-0) is also coming off a solid offensive display, as the team shot 56.3 percent from the floor in its season-opening 89-53 rout of New Orleans.

Graduate transfer Manny Bates led the team with 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in his Bulldogs debut. Chuck Harris contributed 17 points, while Eric Hunter Jr. added 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

The biggest weak point for Butler was its 3-point shooting (4 of 24), although coach Thad Matta believes “it’s going to be fine because we have a lot of guys who can shoot the basketball” and Harris doesn’t seem like he’s losing any sleep either.

“We know we can make those shots,” Harris said. “They’re gonna fall. They didn’t tonight, but they will fall.”

Butler has won two of the three all-time meetings with PSU, although the teams have not squared off since 1992.

–Field Level Media