Butler Pulls Away Late Against Utah
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Senior Kelan Martin led four Bulldogs in double figures with 29 points and 11 rebounds as Butler posted an 81-69 win over Utah Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. A 14-0 run early in the second half proved to be decisive in the contest as Butler moves to 7-2 on the season.
After Utah tied the game at 39-39 less than three minutes into the second half, Butler answered with 14 consecutive points with all five starters contributing points in the spurt. Paul Jorgensen's three-pointer capped the run and gave Butler a 53-39 lead with 14:13 to play.
"I'm really proud of the fight in this group," said Butler coach LaVall Jordan. "Our seniors are growing every day, and you see these stretches of their leadership when you hear their voices more. Kelan got one to fall early, and then Paul did. It gets contagious. We did a really good job of finding each other tonight and getting good looks."
The Bulldogs shot 55 percent from the field, highlighted by Martin's 12-of-19 performance. Jorgensen tied his career-high with 16 points, featuring a 4-of-6 night from three-point range.
For Martin, the 29 points are a season-high as he registered his third double-double of the season (second in a row).
Senior Tyler Wideman went 6-of-7 from the field and 6-of-8 at the free throw line for 18 points. He added six rebounds.
Utah would make one last run in the closing minutes. Butler's advantage was 72-57 with 4:54 to play before the visitors scored the next nine points to trim the lead to six at the 2:39 mark. Butler would allow Utah only one made field goal at that point while making six free throws to go along with a Martin three-pointer to put the game out of reach.
Butler's frontcourt limited the Utah (6-2) duo of David Collette and Tyler Rawson to a combined nine points on 2-of-9 shooting. The pair entered the game averaging a combined 24.8 points.
Donnie Tillman led the Utes with 20 points. Utah shot 42 percent and had four players in double figures.
All 81 of Butler's points came from their starters as Kamar Baldwin had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Jorgensen added four assists.
After committing nine turnovers in the first half, Butler had only two after the break as the Bulldogs shot 62 percent over the closing 20 minutes. Utah had an eight-point lead midway through the first half before Butler closed the opening 20 minutes on a 17-6 run to take a 34-31 halftime lead.
Martin's first four points of the night moved him ahead of Butler great Bobby Plump for 15th on the school's all-time scoring list. Martin now has 1,465 career points and five games of 20+ this season.
The win over Utah extends Butler's streak of home wins over non-conference opponents to 40. On the season, Butler is undefeated at home (5-0), when leading at halftime (6-0), shooting better than 50 percent from the field (5-0), and out-rebounding its opponent (5-0).
Sean McDermott missed his third consecutive game for the Bulldogs while recovering from an ankle sprain suffered in a game Nov. 24.
Butler returns to action Saturday with a noon tip against Youngstown State. Tickets are still available for the game, which will air on FOX Sports Network regional affiliates including FOX Sports Indiana.