Turnovers plagued the Kennesaw State men’s basketball team Friday as missed shots and a lackluster rebounding performance resulting in an 82-64 loss to Butler.
Sophomore James Scott had the hot hand throughout the game for KSU. Scott led all scorers with 26 points on 10-19 shooting. Scott sunk four of his nine 3-point attempts.
Despite Scott’s spectacular individual performance, one man was not enough to bring down the Bulldogs. Butler only allowed two players to reach double figures, and the rest of the Owls finished with less than eight points.
Butler was on a mission to prove themselves defensively against the Owls. They tallied nine steals and forced17 turnovers.
Another defensive strongpoint for the Bulldogs was contested shots. Nearly every shot attempt KSU put up was heavily contested, and Butler was able to swat with ease, protecting the rim with six blocks.
After KSU’s pre-season exhibition matchup against West Georgia, head coach Al Skinner stated that he wanted his team to be patient on offense and move the ball around.
“It’s funny because [our team’s identity] evolves,” Skinner said. “Right now we’re doing different things to see what works and what the real strengths of this team are. Not what you imagine, not what you hope for them to be, but what they actually are and that comes through playing, through practice and through guy’s attitudes.”
KSU had nine assists as a team, and the leading passer was senior Nick Masterson, assisting his teammates four times.
The Owls struggled to score throughout the game, ending the game with a 40.7 percent shooting performance as opposed to the Bulldogs who shot 50 percent from the field.
This poor shooting performance was most evident at the end of the first half. The Owls’ finished the half down 48-24.
KSU fought back to reduce the score to a ten-point deficit after a 3-pointer from Scott with 12:08 remaining in the second half, but the Bulldogs would run away with a strong finish to secure the win.
KSU’s season success will depend on the performance of their starting big men. Against Butler, Jordan Jones and Bryson Lockley both lacked the aggression shown against West Georgia.
Jones and Lockley combined for five points on 0-5 shooting, and two total assists.
KSU still has three more major universities to play against this season, and if this game against Butler is any indication, the Owls are not ready. However, they will have time to prepare for their next power-five-conference matchup against Florida State on Wednesday, Nov. 22.
FSU is not a team to take lightly. The Seminoles finished strong last season with a record of 26-9 and appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years.
The other two major schools the Owls will play are Texas Tech and the Washington Huskies, who housed the NBA’s number one draft pick last year, Markelle Fultz.
“The objective at the end of the day is to be able to play when your regular season is over,” Skinner said. “The only way you can do that, and to be honest about it, is to go out and play people and find out how good you really are.”
The Owls have a great basketball team this year, despite the frequent turnovers and poor individual performances in their season debut.
If the Owls can learn how to be patient on offense and how to move the ball to the open man, this will eliminate turnovers and will give KSU a better chance at finishing the season with a winning record.