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Butler downs Miami 90-68 to begin season

INDIANAPOLIS -- After Dalonte Brown missed a three with 9:28 left in the first half, a Butler student yelled, "Sit down" to Miami's standing bench.

That was the Bulldogs' (1-0) message to the RedHawks (0-1) all night.

In the season-opener for both teams, Butler bullied Miami at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday night, winning 90-68.

"Well, obviously, the game just got out of hand," MU head coach Jack Owens said. "They did a great job crashing the glass and grabbing second-chance opportunities."

Butler out-rebounded Miami 38-22 and had 15 second-chance points to the RedHawks' 10.

The Bulldogs won the tip and opened on a 13-3 run, starting with a layup by junior guard Kamar Baldwin. They never trailed in the contest.

Sophomore guard and 2018 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year Nike Sibande scored the RedHawks' first bucket with a three-pointer to make it 9-3.

The strong play of sophomore forward Dalonte Brown kept the Bulldogs' advantage hovering between 10 and 15 for much of the first half. Brown finished the period with 12 points, as Butler took a 45-33 lead into halftime.

BU redshirt sophomore center Joey Brunk came off the bench and set a new career-high in points (15) in the first half alone. He added a hook shot layup in the second half for a total of 17.

"He's a big guy," Owens said about Brunk. "He's mobile. He's able to finish inside, and he plays hard. I think that's one thing he did that stood out to me."

Coming out of intermission, the Bulldogs blew the game wide-open with a 20-4 stretch that pushed their lead to a game-high 28 points (65-37) and sent the home crowd into a frenzy.

The RedHawks attempted to claw their way back shortly after, as they forced three turnovers during a 12-2 run of their own, but Butler's talent proved too difficult to match.

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Redshirt senior guard Paul Jorgensen caught fire and provided the Bulldogs with 15 second-half points. He also pulled down seven rebounds, tying his teammate, senior center Nate Fowler, for a game-high total.

In the end, Butler pressed cruise control and coasted to a 90-68 victory.

The win extends the Bulldogs' home, non-conference win streak to 44 -- good for third-best in the NCAA, trailing only Duke and Arizona. They now hold a 12-1 all-time series lead over Miami and have never lost to the RedHawks at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Sibande, who attended Indianapolis' Crispus Attucks High School, poured in a game-high 24 points on 9-20 shooting. Brown slowed down after his 12-point first half, tacking on only four more in the second.

Baldwin led the Bulldogs with 21 points and six assists.

The returns of Owens and six RedHawks to their home state wasn't as successful as they had hoped. Owens remains optimistic for this season going forward.

"I'm excited about this group," he said. "We'll definitely learn from this game."

Miami looks to bounce back and claim its first victory of the season when it hosts Midway at Millett Hall tonight. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.