Even in those moments when the basketball wasn’t going through the hoop, the Butler Bulldogs maintained defensive intensity in the second game of their European trip.
Jayden Taylor scored 15 points and Chuck Harris 14, and the Bulldogs raised their record to 2-0 with an 81-53 victory Friday night in Rome. They played members of the Stella Azzura team, plus other pro players from the area.
Butler travel journal: ‘Connected’ team enjoys Italian food and Colosseum
“I thought we did a better job of executing our offense,” coach Thad Matta said in an interview posted on social media. “Defensively, we needed more activity off the basketball, and I thought we did a good job of that.”
Butler won Thursday’s game 95-61. Through two games, Harris has 33 points and Taylor 28.
All 11 players who logged minutes scored.
Manny Bates and freshman Connor Turnbull scored eight points apiece, and DJ Hughes and Eric Hunter seven each. Redshirt freshman Pierce Thomas scored on a 3-pointer and a dunk, according to video highlights.
Two players, Ali Ali and Simas Lukosius, missed the games with minor injuries. A news release stated neither injury is expected to affect their preseason workouts after the team returns to Indianapolis.
Butler led 17-9 after one 10-minute quarter and 36-22 at halftime.
“Going into halftime, I told the guys, ‘Hey look. Let’s just relax. We’re going to make some shots here,’ ” Matta said. “To their credit, they kept defending.”
The Bulldogs spent Friday morning on a walking tour of Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Pantheon. They arrived in Rome on Wednesday morning and head Saturday to Sorrento, Italy. The tour ends in Athens, Greece, where Butler will play games Tuesday and Thursday. Matta said opponents will be better there.
Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.