In the opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis it was supposed to be the North Carolina Tar Heels exerting their will on the Butler Bulldogs. The Big East school had other ideas. The Bulldogs physically dominated the number five ranked Tar Heels on the glass on their way to a 74 to 66 win.
The rebounding spread was 57 to 40 in favor of Butler, and 29 to 14 on the offensive glass. Seniors Kameron Woods and Roosevelt Jones had 14 offensive rebounds between them, which equals the total of the entire Tar Heel team.
Alex Barlow came to play from the start and had a great all-around game for his team. He had 17 points, including four of eight from behind the arc helping overcome Kellen Dunham’s struggles from the field. Barlow also locked up UNC’s go-to-guy, Marcus Paige, the entire game holding him to just 5-17 from the floor.
Roosevelt Jones had a great stat sheet stuffing day as well going for 12 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. This includes the four free throws he made with under a minute to go that helped seal the deal for the Bulldogs. Freshman Kelan Martin also showed that his scoring will come against any competition as he went for 17 points (5-11 field goals).
This was a huge win for interim head coach Chris Holtmann. Right after the game ended, Butler fans instantly were clamoring for Holtmann to get the “interim” removed from his name, and rightfully so. After a four and 14 record in Big East play a year ago, a win over number five ranked North Carolina is a huge statement from the program.
Butler can enjoy this one for a couple of hours, but then they will have to get ready for the winner of the game between the UCLA Bruins and the Oklahoma Sooners who they will face tomorrow.