Bryce Golden scored 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting, Aaron Thompson registered a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists, and Butler pulled away for a 66-54 win over visiting Eastern Illinois on Saturday in Indianapolis.
Jair Bolden added 10 points and Ty Groce eight as Butler (7-3) won its fourth game in a row.
CJ Lane paced Eastern Illinois with 12 points. Dan Luers finished with 11 and Paul Bizimana added 10 for the Panthers (2-9), who have lost two games in a row and six of their past seven.
Butler had a 34-28 advantage in rebounds and a 32-20 edge in points in the paint.
The Bulldogs started the second half on a 7-0 run to open an 18-point advantage. Groce had a dunk, Jayden Taylor hit a 3-pointer and Golden made a layup during the run.
The Panthers fell behind 44-24 before scoring six straight points to pull within 14. Rodolfo Rufino Bolis had a 3-pointer and a jump shot during the brief run, and Bizimana made a free throw.
Butler prevented Eastern Illinois from getting any closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Butler led 32-21 at the half.
The Bulldogs quickly set the tone on both ends of the court, racing to a 14-3 lead to start the game. Golden scored Butler’s first two baskets, and Taylor had two layups during the early run.
Eastern Illinois trailed 20-5 before it found some rhythm on offense. The Panthers sliced the deficit to 20-16 with 3:52 remaining in the half.
Butler closed the half on an 11-5 run to regain a double-digit lead. Thompson made a layup and Christian David drained a 3-pointer in the final minute before the break.
The Bulldogs have a week to prepare for their next contest, a high-profile matchup against No. 1 Purdue next Saturday.
Eastern Illinois also has a week between games. It will face in-state rival Western Illinois next Saturday.
–Field Level Media
–Field Level Media
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