The Bulldogs leave for Spain this week as they prepare for LaVall Jordan’s first season in charge.
David Woods / IndyStar
After losing three guards from the last college basketball season, the Butler backcourt was in question. Some answers have been forthcoming on a tour of Spain.
Guards Kamar Baldwin, Aaron Thompson and Paul Jorgensen helped the Bulldogs to an 81-68 victory over a team of professional players Tuesday at Valencia, Spain.
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The Bulldogs are 3-0 on the trip, averaging 83.3 points per game. They play the last of four games Thursday at Barcelona.
As for those guards:
>> Baldwin, a sophomore, had 15 points and five assists.
>> Thompson, a freshman, had 11 points and five assists.
>> Jorgensen, a transfer, scored 10 points after leading Butler with 20 Sunday.
“I thought Aaron Thompson did a really good job as he’s learning basketball at this level,” coach LaVall Jordan said. “Just coming in and managing the game. But then, when they pressed up and changed defenses, he was on the attack. So he played with much more poise.”
Jordan said he had “good eye contact” with Baldwin, who has played point guard after a freshman season spent at shooting guard.
“He got us into things that we wanted to do,” the coach said.
Kelan Martin had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Sean McDermott scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
“Kelan has been a good spark defensively,” Jordan said. “He’s had energy, and he’s been engaged. He’s been on the defensive glass.”
The Bulldogs shot 49 percent overall but 24 percent (5-of-21) on 3-pointers. All 13 players got into the game, including freshman Cooper Neese, who had been sidelined by an injured thumb. Twelve scored.
Butler led 36-33 at halftime but soon fell behind 39-36. A 19-5 run built an 11-point lead that the Bulldogs protected the rest of the way.
Jordan said Valencia was the most physical of three Spanish opponents but that the Bulldogs matched that in the second half and were “who we want to be” on defense. The coach cited centers Joey Brunk and Nate Fowler for their play off the bench. Brunk finished off the game with a dunk.
“At different points on the trip, everybody has done something really positive,” Jordan said. “We’re learning our strengths and weaknesses as we go.”
Call IndyStar reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.
LaVall Jordan speaks to the crowd gathered after being introduced as the Butler University men’s basketball coach at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
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IndyStar Butler Insider David Woods and sports columnist Gregg Doyel talk Butler University men’s basketball head coach LaVall Jordan.
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Butler Insider David Woods talks about new coach LaVall Jordan.
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LaVall Jordan played for the Bulldogs, and was an assistant coach at Butler, Iowa and Michigan. He was the coach at Milwaukee for one season.
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