Springfield’s full-court press creates 27 Butler turnovers in 71-51 win.
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield head coach Isiah Carson wanted an improved performance out of Springfield after the Wildcats’ fell down the stretch and lost by seven points to Centerville on Friday. He got what he wanted on Saturday.
Springfield’s relentless full-court, man-to-man defense created 27 turnovers on Saturday. It was too much for Butler to handle. The Wildcats capitalized on the turnovers and scored early and often in a 71-51 win in a GWOC Showcase at Butler’s Student Activity Center.
“I thought we did a good job energy- and effort-wise,” Carson said after the game. “We flew around and were able to create some turnover opportunities. We got (Butler) in positions they didn’t want to be in and got a lot of layups tonight.”
Butler shot 18-of-34 (53 percent) from the field in the game. But the turnovers negated its good shooting night. Springfield also outrebounded Butler 34-23.
“We want to create offensive opportunities off our defense,” Carson said. “I think we’re quick enough and we have enough athleticism to do that as long as we’re playing smart and keeping disciplined. Tonight, it paid off for us.”
Springfield center Darius Harper led the Wildcats with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Senior guards Dae’Shawn Jackson and Henry Alexander added 18 and 17 points, respectively, for the Wildcats.
Harper said after the game that Springfield’s loss to Centerville on Friday motivated the Wildcats heading into Saturday’s game.
“We got back on our transition defense (tonight),” Harper said. “We shared the ball and were more confident with the ball. We followed the game plan.”
Springfield led by ten points at halftime and pulled away in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats outscored Butler by seven points in the fourth and led by as many as 25 points. Harper scored 13 points in the second half, including a thunderous put-back dunk late in the third quarter.
“That brings the balance to the team and we need that,” Carson said of Harper. “Darius did an awesome job tonight and played a lot smarter. He did a good job of finishing in the second half. We’ve got to keep him rolling and keep feeding him underneath.”
Alexander was key for Springfield setting the tone early. He had three steals in the first quarter and scored seven of Springfield’s 17 first-quarter points. Alexander shot 7-of-8 from the field in the game.
“Henry bounced back and had a good game tonight,” Carson said. “He stepped up and showed some leadership. He flew around more than anybody did. He did a great job of getting us going and leading the charge tonight.”
Springfield jumped out to a 10-4 lead through the first three minutes. Both Jackson and Alexander hit three-pointers in that run. Springfield outscored Butler 17-10 in the first quarter and 17-14 in the second to take a 34-24 lead at halftime. Alexander and Jackson scored 12 points each in the first half for Springfield.
Butler kept pace a bit in the third quarter, but the Wildcats ran away in the fourth. Springfield outscored Butler by three points in the third quarter and seven in the fourth to win by 20.
Springfield shot 30-of-63 (47.6 percent) from the field, including 23-of-40 (57.5 percent) from two-point range.
Nnameka Anene led Butler with 12 points and ten rebounds. Adam Ney scored 11 points.
Springfield (2-2) returns to action next Friday at Fairmont in a GWOC Central game. Butler (1-2) hosts Greenville in a GWOC North game on Friday.
Girls — Butler 61, Springfield 33: Springfield competed in the first half of a GWOC Showcase game against Butler on Saturday only to be outscored by 19 points in the second half and lose 61-33.
Springfield trailed by single digits with two minutes left in the second quarter until Butler scored the last six points of the second to foreshadow a big second half.
Butler improved to 3-3 with the win. Springfield dropped to 0-5. The Wildcats have won two games in the last three seasons.
Jasmine Williams led Springfield with 14 points, while JaNai Mitchell scored 13.
Butler was led by Brittney Petrosky, who scored 14 points. Ten different players scored for Butler.