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Butler Bulldogs Complete Non-Conference Play with Dominating Win Over Western Illinois

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs finished their final non-conference matchup of the season as they played host to the Western Illinois Leathernecks at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Thursday, December 21. Senior F Kelan Martin and sophomore F/G Henry Baddley tied for a game-high 20 points in the overpowering 107-46 Butler win. The Bulldogs improve to 10-3 while the Leathernecks fall to 7-4.

“We prepared well and we got the byproduct of execution tonight,” said Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan. “Tonight was all about our defense. Our guys were locked in, our ball-screen coverages were good, and we contested every shot. It was a great effort; now let’s see how consistent we can be.”

The Leathernecks won the opening tip, but the Bulldogs hit the scoreboard first as sophomore G Kamar Baldwin pushed a defensive rebound down the floor and found a cutting redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen from the wing for an easy layup. A three from the top of the key by senior F Kelan Martin after an offensive rebound from junior F/C Nate Fowler was the start of what would be a very hot shooting game from three for Butler. Jorgensen splashed home a three immediately after Martin to give Butler an 8-2 lead at the 18:06 mark. Following a layup from Fowler, Martin connected on a second three to give Butler a 13-2 lead at the 17:06 first half mark. A three from Baldwin was the next score and capped a 16-2 Butler run to open the game. Redshirt sophomore F Sean McDermott joined the downtown action and connected from deep before a third three from Martin gave Butler a 24-8 lead with 11:18 remaining in the first half. Minutes later, Jorgensen hit a second three at the 7:03 mark to give Butler a 33-14 lead. The next score came way of Martin on an And-1 layup through heavy contact. The three-point play pushed the lead to 36-14 with 5:59 remaining in the first half. A second McDermott three led to a second Kelan Martin And-1 layup and free throw to give Butler a 28-point lead at 46-18 with 2:24 remaining before halftime. Martin scored on a fourth three for the next points of the game to give Butler a 31-point lead at 49-18 with 1:21 remaining in the first half. The Leathernecks scored the final four first half points to bring the halftime score to 49-22.

The Bulldogs finished the first half shooting 51.5% (17-33) from the field, including 56.3% (9-16) from three. Western Illinois finished the first half shooting 35.5% (11-31) from the field, including 0% (0-7) from three. Butler senior F Kelan Martin led all scorers with 18 points at the break.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Junior Center Nate Fowler

The Bulldogs picked up right where they left off to start the second half. Butler rattled off a 14-2 run right out of the break. During the run, Nate Fowler scored seven points, including a make from three, and Paul Jorgensen scored five points, including an And-1 three-point play after being fouled on a layup and he recorded a steal that led to a fast-break dunk. Kelan Martin capped the run off with a thunderous two-hand dunk after a Fowler steal. The run set Butler up with a 63-24 lead with 14:12 remaining in the game. Minutes later, freshman F/G Jerald Gillens-Butler hit a three, which was immediately followed up by a third Jorgensen three with 8:17 remaining in the game after a steal by freshman G Aaron Thompson. Gillens-Butler splashed home a second three at the 7:05 mark to give Butler an 80-37 lead. Sophomore G/F Henry Baddley decided to join the Butler three-point party as he knocked down back-to-back threes to give Butler a 90-41 lead with 5:04 remaining. The party continued in the final minutes as McDermott knocked down a third three for a 95-43 Butler lead with 3:28 remaining and Baddley found home on a third three-ball at the 1:59 mark to break the 100-point barrier and give Butler a 102-43 lead. Baddley sunk a fourth three at the 0:34 mark and Western Illinois hit a free throw to end the game at 107-46.

The Bulldogs shot 56.1% (37-66) from the field, including 58.1 (18-31) from three. Western Illinois finished the game at 32.8% (20-61) from the field, including 6.7% (1-15) from three.

The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle, 41-28, and the assist battle, 23-5. Butler scored 31 points off of 19 Western Illinois turnovers while surrendering five points off of eight of their own miscues. The Butler bench outscored Western Illinois, 46-23.

Butler senior F Kelan Martin tied for a game-high 20 points on a 7-17 (41.2%) performance, including 4-9 (44%) from three. Martin also added a game-high and career-high seven assists.

During the game, Martin passed Shelvin Mack (14), Wayne Burris (13) and Roosevelt Jones (12) to take 11th place on the Butler All-Time Scoring List with 1,537 career points. Martin is now chasing Darren Fowlkes (1,543) for 10th on the list.

Butler sophomore F/G Henry Baddley was on the tying end of a game-high in points with a new career-high 20 in 15 minutes of action off the bench. Baddley finished the game with a 7-8 (87.5%) performance from the field, including a 4-4 shooting display from three. His previous career-high was nine points.

Junior F/C Nate Fowler got the start in place of senior F Tyler Wideman, who missed the first game of his career after having surgery to remove his wisdom teeth on Wednesday. Fowler responded with his first career double-double, featuring 11 points and a game-high and career-high 12 rebounds. He added a game-high and career-best four blocks.

Redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen set a new career-high with 18 points on a 7-9 (77.7%) performance from the field, including 3-5 (60%) from three. His previous was 16 points.

Redshirt sophomore F Sean McDermott added 12 points with the help of a 3-4 (75%) performance from three.

Freshman G/F Jerald Gillens-Butler scored a career high eight points, including a 2-2 performance from three. Freshman walk-on G Campbell Donovan scored his first two career-points with two free throws. .

Western Illinois entered the game shooting 52% from the field and 41% from three-point range. Its top three scorers averaged a combined 45.9 points entering Thursday’s game; junior C Brandon Gilbeck, freshman G Kobe Webster and senior G/F Dalan Ancrum scored 14 points total.

Butler’s 18 three-pointers tied the second-best mark in program history (at Detroit, Feb. 25, 2006), just shy of the 20 hit at Cleveland State, Feb. 8, 2007.

The Bulldogs take a few days off for the holidays before opening BIG EAST Conference play on Wednesday, Dec. 27, when the team travels to the nation’s capital to face Georgetown. The 6:30 p.m. tip will air nationally on FS1.

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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