INDIANAPOLIS — Kellen Dunham scored 15 points and Khyle Marshall added 13, leading No. 17 Butler past New Orleans 57-44 on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (12-2) are 7-0 at home this season and will take a nine-game winning streak into their Atlantic 10 debut Wednesday night at Saint Joseph's.
The Privateers (3-10) were led by Lovell Cook with 11 points and Traddarius McPhearson with 10. But they have lost five straight, are 0-6 in true road games this season and have dropped 15 consecutive road games against Division I opponents. Their last win over a Top 25 team came against No. 21 North Carolina State on Nov. 18, 2007.
For Butler, it was a dreadful day – and it came against one of America's lowest-rated teams.
In the first 8 minutes, the Bulldogs turned the ball over seven times. Things were so bad that coach Brad Stevens yanked his entire starting lineup less than 4 minutes into the game. There was no immediate change.
With 10 minutes left in the half, Butler had as many points as turnovers and trailed 9-7.
Things finally began to change when Dunham lined up his second 3-pointer of the half with 6:01 left. That gave Butler a 13-11 lead and some badly needed confidence.
A few minutes later, Andrew Smith posted up for a layup, drew a foul and made a free throw, spurring the Bulldogs to a 9-3 run to close the half for a 24-18 lead.
Butler carried the momentum into the second half.
Alex Barlow, who had made only three baskets in the 3 1/2 games since his winning shot toppled No. 1 Indiana, opened the second half with his second 3 of the season. Marshall followed that with a dunk off an alley-oop pass and Rotnei Clarke, who was scoreless in the first half, knocked down a 3 to make it 32-20 with 17:35 to go.
That was all the separation the Bulldogs needed against New Orleans.
The Privateers twice closed the gap to eight points midway through the second half, but the Bulldogs closed it out with six straight points.
The game was a homecoming for three Indiana natives – New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger, assistant coach Kirk Arkenberg and junior guard Isaac Mack. It was the first Indy game for New Orleans since losing to Xavier in the 1993 NCAA tournament.