Senior guard Paul Jorgensen scored 19 points, shooting 5 of 7 from 3-point range, as Butler got off to a fast start Friday and rolled to a 71-54 nonconference victory over UC Irvine in Indianapolis.
Butler’s defense limited UC Irvine to single-digits points over the first 11 minutes. The Bulldogs (9-3) held a 41-17 lead at halftime and won their 50th consecutive home game against a nonconference opponent.
No UC Irvine player scored in double figures. Junior forward Tommy Rutherford scored eight points as the Anteaters (11-3) saw their 10-game road winning streak come to an end. UC Irvine had been tied for the longest road win streak in the nation with Virginia.
Sophomore forward Jordan Tucker and junior guard Kamar Baldwin scored 14 points each for Butler, which improved to 7-0 at home. The Bulldogs entered averaging 83 points per game at home.
Butler held a 17-7 lead at the midway point of the first half and had a 33-13 edge with less than two minutes remaining before halftime. Tucker hit a 3-pointer to close out the first half and give Butler a 24-point lead at the break.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 27 points in the second half.
UC Irvine did not have an assist in the first half and had just four for the game, while Butler had 10 assists. The Anteaters are now 0-3 when losing the assist battle, and they are 10-0 when leading in assists.
It was the 12th time in 14 games that Butler held its opponent under 70 points.
The Bulldogs were 9 of 17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range while holding UC Irvine 2 of 17 (11.8 percent) from long distance, including 0 of 7 in the first half.
UC Irvine junior guard Max Hazzard, who scored a career-high 32 points with 10 3-pointers last week against Denver, managed just three points and was 1 of 7 from behind the 3-point arc.
Butler has one more nonconference game remaining, Dec. 29 at Florida, before opening Big East Conference play on Jan. 2 at home against Georgetown.
UC Irvine has two nonconference games remaining before the start of Big West Conference play Jan. 10 at home against UC Davis.
—Field Level Media