INDIANAPOLIS — Butler’s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse is the site of the famed 1954 “Milan Miracle”, the David vs. Goliath upset that inspired the movie “Hoosiers.”
There was no such miracle for an underdog Citadel basketball team Saturday night against 24th-ranked Butler.
In new coach Duggar Baucom’s Citadel debut, Butler ran away with a 144-71 victory, setting a school record for points in a regulation game.
Seven Butler players scored in double figures, led by senior Kellen Dunham with 24 points in the season opener for both teams. According to ESPN, Butler’s 144 points were the most by a Division I team against another D-I basketball team since 1997.
Baucom coaches a fast-paced, pressing style, and The Citadel reeled off 96 possessions and 74 shots, including 47 shots from 3-point range. But The Citadel shot just 27 percent from the field and 21.3 percent from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 20 times.
Freshman Quayson Williams and graduate-student transfer Derrick Henry scored 13 points each for The Citadel, and Brian White had 11.
“They are really good,” Baucom said of Butler, which plays in the Big East. “We’ll get better, but we’ve got to learn from this. There’s a lot of road ahead of us, and I’m glad this one is behind us.”
The Citadel hung close in the early minutes, making six straight shots at one stretch and trailing by 24-20 after a White jumper at 13:22. The deficit was six after a Henry layup for 28-23 with 11:33 left in the half.
But Butler pulled away from there, outscoring The Citadel by 47-21 for the rest of the half to build a 71-41 margin by halftime.
“The first 10 minutes, we competed,” Baucom said. “But then I don’t know if they got tired or what. We didn’t get to our corners on defense. We are going to press, that’s our identity. But we didn’t play with a ton of energy from that 10 minute point of the first half.”
Dunham scored 22 points in the first half as Butler shot 65.9 percent from the field and The Citadel turned the ball over 14 times.
The Citadel plays its home opener against Stetson on Tuesday. The 6 p.m. game at McAlister Field House will be the first of three “Pack the Mac” promotions this season, with the Corps of Cadets in attendance and football coach Mike Houston and the 20th-ranked Bulldogs recognized at halftime.