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No. 4 Seed Butler Bulldogs Advance to NCAA Tournament Second Round with Win Over No. 13 Seed Winthrop

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.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Graduate Transfer Guard Avery Woodson

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.

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