Butler fans were well aware that they were not going to have Rotnei Clarke in the lineup on Wednesday night.
This gave freshman guard Kellen Dunham a great opportunity to step up in his absence, but instead it was senior forward Andrew Smith who helped pace the Bulldogs past Richmond on Wednesday.
Dunham in fact, struggled in the ball game, scoring 11 points, but on just 2-of-11 shooting. The sharpshooter got his looks from the outside, which is something that Clarke is not used to doing given his reputation as a shooter. Dunham however, finished 2-of-10 from beyond the arc in the game.
As it was stated in Wednesday’s preview, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it was Smith who helped pick up the slack in Clarke’s absence. The Spiders didn’t have much of an answer for Smith’s 6-foot-11 frame and his efficient offensive numbers were evident of that. Smith was 6-of-9 from the field, scoring 15 points to lead the way.
The victory marked the 12th consecutive win for the Bulldogs, but it’s their balance that is due the credit.
Clarke is the team’s leading scorer and has been a focal point in many of the game that they have won this season, but Wednesday night was a pure indication of how there is much more to this team. Smith’s low post efforts, the perimeter effect of Dunham, Chase Stigall, and Roosevelt Jones, and the tenacity of a guy like Khyle Marshall give head coach Brad Stevens quite the dangerous rotation.
At No. 13 in the nation this week, the hype is only increasing for a Butler squad that knows what is still to come. The Bulldogs will take a step away from the A-10 play this weekend when they host Gonzaga on Saturday.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS