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Revived Butler faces next test against Seton Hall

Butler Bulldogs guard Jayden Taylor (13) passes the ball on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Butler Bulldogs defeated the DePaul Blue Demons, 78-70.

Ncaa Basketball Ini Butler Basketball Vs Depaul Depaul Blue Demons At Butler Bulldogs

Now that Butler has won a pair of Big East Conference games, the Bulldogs hope their momentum continues on a two-game road swing that begins Saturday against Seton Hall at Newark, N.J.

Butler (10-6, 2-3 Big East) had a challenging start to its conference schedule, losing by 20 or more points to then-No. 3 UConn, Creighton and Providence. The Bulldogs righted the ship by plowing Georgetown 80-51 on the road, then won Wednesday’s game against DePaul 78-70.

“Good basketball is contagious and that’s what we’ve been trying to tell these guys, and we’re proud of their effort tonight,” Butler coach Thad Matta said after the Georgetown win.

Scoring has been contagious for Butler, too. In the past six games, six different players have posted a team high in points: Simas Lukosius, Manny Bates, Chuck Harris, Jalen Thomas, Jayden Taylor and Eric Hunter Jr.

Taylor, who has started 13 of 16 games, came off the bench against Georgetown and dropped a career-high 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He leads the team with 13.6 points per game, one of five averaging double figures. Hunter (11.0 points per game) got in on the action with 23 points in the win over DePaul.

Butler heads to the New York metro area to play Seton Hall (8-8, 1-4) on Saturday and St. John’s on Tuesday.

The Pirates are smarting from an 83-61 road loss to Creighton on Tuesday, a game in which they were never truly close. Creighton broke a 10-10 tie with a 17-2 run and led by 19 at halftime before cruising down the stretch.

Femi Odukale posted 16 points to lead Seton Hall, which has also spread the scoring around. Four players average between 9.9 and 10.9 points per game, but as a team the Pirates are last in the Big East in scoring (69.4 points), 3-point shooting (30.1 percent) and free-throw shooting (67.9 percent).

“I want these guys to keep growing and fighting as a team,” Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway said in a postgame radio interview. “There’s going to be nights like this where things aren’t going well, but our effort still has to be there and to me that is the disappointing part.

“I don’t talk about making shots a lot of the time. I’m about consistent effort and fighting every possession and understanding who we are.”

–Field Level Media