Manny Bates has not played more than one minute in a college basketball game in nearly 17 months. Yet any rust he might have accumulated is being brushed aside in southern Europe.
The 6-11 transfer scored 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and added 10 rebounds, helping the Butler Bulldogs to an 86-76 victory Thursday in the Eurohoops Dome at Athens. The opponent featured players from pro leagues in Greece and Spain.
Bates injured his shoulder in the first minute of the first game in November 2021 and was sidelined all of last season at North Carolina State. He was only recently cleared for five-on-five action.
Chuck Harris shot 7-of-13 for 21 points, 11 in the fourth quarter, and added seven rebounds, four assists and five steals. He increased his total to 54 points (18 ppg) in three games.
Jayden Taylor scored 14 points, equaling his average on the tour.
Myles Wilmoth added nine points and seven rebounds. Eric Hunter Jr. scored eight points, Myles Tate seven and Jalen Thomas six. In 17 minutes, Pierce Thomas had four points and four assists.
The Bulldogs previously won two exhibition games in Rome. They play the last of four on the tour Thursday in Athens.
Coach Thad Matta said the pros were “grown men” who pushed the Bulldogs around in the first half. Butler led 32-31 at halftime but pulled away with a 54-point second half.
“That was sort of the message at halftime: ‘Don’t let these guys beat us up. We still want to execute our stuff,’“ Matta said.
“I thought we did a really, really good job of battling back. Giving it, not taking it. We started to get some stops, we were able to get out in transition.”
The Bulldogs trailed briefly in the third quarter, 47-46, but responded with a 9-0 run to take a 55-47 lead. They never trailed thereafter.
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Butler’s Simas Lukosius and Ali Ali have missed all games on the tour with what are described as minor injuries.
Matta said the Bulldogs are becoming more active on defense, even if not always connected.
“If we can play with that activity, now we just have to teach these guys to play smarter with the same activity,” the coach said.
The team arrived Monday night in Athens after spending the weekend in Sorrento, Italy. The team was to attend a game between Greek and Spanish national teams Tuesday night. Later on the trip, they are to visit the Temple of Poseidon, the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Panatheniac Stadium.
Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Butler basketball: Manny Bates, Chuck Harris impress in Greece vs. pros