INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #21/24 Butler Bulldogs faced the Winthrop Eagles in the First Round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 16. Graduate transfer G Avery Woodson led Butler with a team high 18 points on a 6-10 shooting performance from three in the 76-64 win. The #4 Seed Butler Bulldogs will advance to the Second Round and face the winner of the #5 Seed Minnesota vs #12 Middle Tennessee game on Saturday, March 18th.
Butler is now 9-0 in NCAA Tournament play as the better-seeded team. Butler is also 11-1 in their last 11 first round contests in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs’ most recent first round loss came in 2009.The Bulldogs shot a perfect 4-4 from the field to start the game, including two makes from deep by graduate transfer G Avery Woodson, to build a 10-5 lead with 18:04 remaining in the first half. A third three by Woodson gave the Bulldogs a 15-7 lead with 15:37 remaining before the break. A few minutes later, Woodson hit a fourth three for a 22-13 Butler lead at the 10:42 mark of the first half. Junior F Kelan Martin connected on a three of his own to give Butler the 26-18 lead with 8:58 before the break. The hot hand continued for the Bulldogs as freshman G Kamar Baldwin connected on a corner three to push the lead to 31-20 at the 5:50 mark of the first half. The next points of the game came on a fifth deep ball by Woodson for a 34-20 lead with 4:33 remaining in the first half. Free throws from sophomore C Nate Fowler and redshirt senior G Kethan Savage helped the Bulldogs in the final minutes of the first half as Butler took a 41-27 halftime lead.
The Eagles opened the second half scoring on a jumper by redshirt senior F Roderick Perkins before Woodson hit his sixth three-pointer of the game for the Bulldogs, giving Butler the 44-29 lead with 18:09 remaining. But the Eagles were not ready to go home and eventually cut the lead to 48-41 with 13:28 remaining. The Bulldogs responded with a 12-2 run that was capped off by an alley-oop dunk by junior F Tyler Wideman on a long pass from redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis. The run gave the Bulldogs a 62-43 lead with 7:21 remaining. A Kethan Savage layup on the Tyler Lewis assist gave Butler the 70-52 lead with 3:45 remaining. Once again, the Bulldogs capitalized on free throws in the final minutes for the 76-64 final score.
The Bulldogs finished the game at 49 percent (24-49) from the field, including 42.1 percent (8-19) from three. The Eagles finished at 40.3 percent (25-62) from the field, including 36 percent (9-25) from deep. The Bulldogs shot 66.7 percent (20-30) from the charity stripe and limited the Eagles to only ten trips to the line. Winthrop finished at 50 percent (5-10) from the charity stripe.
Redshirts senior PG Tyler Lewis finished with nine points and eight assists. Senior F Andrew Chrabascz finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Junior F Kelan Martin added 10 points and eight rebounds off the Butler bench.
Winthrop junior G Xavier Cooks finished with a game high 23 points. Winthrop finishes the season with a 26-7 record.
Butler’s opponent will be known later Thursday afternoon. The NCAA will announce Saturday tip times and television assignments later tonight.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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