INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kellen Dunham scored 29 points and made all seven of his 3-pointers Saturday, leading Butler to a 71-54 rout over Seton Hall.
The Bulldogs (14-16, 4-14 Big East) have won two straight in March after going 0-7 in February. The win assured Butler of a 24th consecutive winning season at home, a 19th consecutive win on Senior Day and the No. 9 seed in the conference tournament.
Seton Hall (15-16, 6-12) has lost four of five. Patrik Auda scored 22 points and Sterling Gibbs added 11 for the Pirates, who will face Butler for the third time this season Wednesday night in Madison Square Garden. Butler swept the regular season series.
It didn’t take the Bulldogs long to assert themselves Saturday. Dunham scored 14 points and hit four 3s in the first seven minutes, giving Butler a 24-10 lead. Seton Hall never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.
It was an emotional day for Bulldogs fans, who said goodbye to the last two players from their 2011 national runner-up team — Erik Fromm and Khyle Marshall.
But it was the sophomore guard who stole the show.
Dunham came into the game averaging 16.4 points and was better than usual against Seton Hall, especially before getting into foul trouble. He finished the game 11 of 14 from the field and set a new career high with the seven 3s.
And he got things started quickly.
Dunham opened the game by knocking down a 3-pointer and an 18-footer, then hit another 3 after Marshall put in a short jumper. Following Marshall’s alley-oop dunk, Dunham went back to work. He hit a 3 from NBA range and two more 3s from the wing, making it 24-10 with 11:57 to go in the first half.
The Bulldogs were still warming up.
When Fromm and Alex Barlow hit consecutive 3s, the Bulldogs led 38-18.
But after Dunham picked up his second foul with 6:05 to go, things changed. Seton Hall closed the half on a 12-2 run, not allowing a basket after Dunham went to the bench, and cut the deficit to 40-30 at halftime.
Dunham’s return swung the game again.
The Bulldogs started the second half on an 8-0 run, getting one 3 from Andrew Chrabascz and another from Dunham. That coupled with Seton Hall’s woeful 3-of-19 shooting over the first 10½ minutes of the second half sealed the Pirates fate.
Butler used another 8-0 run to take an insurmountable 59-37 lead with 9:19 to play.
Marshall and Elijah Brown each finished with 10 points for Butler, while Fromm and Barlow each had nine.