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Butler Bulldogs Defeat Creighton At Hinkle Fieldhouse on Senior Night

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, coming off an impressive home win against Providence, stayed at Hinkle Fieldhouse for a BIG EAST Conference matchup to host the Creighton Bluejays on Tuesday, February 21. Senior F Kelan Martin scored a game-high 26 points on Senior Night to lead the Bulldogs to a 93-70 win. Butler improves to 19-10 (9-7 BIG EAST) while Creighton falls to 19-9 (8-7 BIG EAST).

The Bulldogs become the third team with nine BIG EAST wins this season.

“Our No. 1 task tonight was to compete at a high level, and we did that,” said Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan. “We stayed focused on the task at hand. Defensively, to hold Creighton to 70 points, that requires a great effort. We had really good energy and our communication was the best it’s been all season. Our guys really took the game plan and executed it.”

Senior F Tyler Wideman won the tip for the Bulldogs and opened the game on a layup off a Butler missed layup and Wideman offensive rebound. A missed Creighton three led to jumper by senior F Kelan Martin to give the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead with 18:54 remaining in the first half. Back-to-back Creighton jumpers would tie the game at 4-4 with 16:51 remaining in the first half. A three by senior G Marcus Foster gave Creighton the lead before Butler sophomore G Kamar Baldwin immediately responded with a three to tie the game at 7-7 with 14:49 remaining in the first half. A three by sophomore G Henry Baddley and layup from junior C Nate Fowler off a full court pass from Kelan Martin gave the Bulldogs a 12-7 lead with 12:47 remaining in the game. A three from Creighton freshman G Mitch Ballock cut the lead to 12-10 before the Bulldogs went on a 16-6 run fueled by the three-ball. The run started with a layup from Fowler before redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen scored the next five points, including a make from three. A second Ballock three was answered by a second Jorgensen three to give the Bulldogs a 22-13 lead with 10:56 remaining in the first half. Ballock immediately answered with a third three before Kelan Martin and Henry Baddley teamed up for back-to-back threes to end the run and give Butler a 28-16 lead with 9:40 remaining in the first half. A 6-2 Bluejays run cut the lead down to eight at 30-22 with 7:50 remaining before halftime, but the Bulldogs responded with a 12-0 run. A jumper by Baldwin was followed by back-to-back threes from redshirt sophomore F Sean McDermott and Henry Baddley, Baddley’s third of the game. The run ended on layups from Martin and Fowler and gave the Bulldogs a 42-22 lead with 4:26 remaining in the first half. An 8-0 Creighton run cut the lead to 42-30 with 2:30 remaining in the first half. A Martin free throw gave Butler a 13 point lead before Creighton junior G Khyri Thomas connected on a three to trim the lead to 43-33 at the 1:19 first half mark. Butler scored the next three points before a Creighton free throw, steal and missed shot at the buzzer sent the game to halftime at 46-34.

The Bulldogs finished the first half shooting 52.9% (18-34), including 66.7% (8-12) from three. The Bluejays finished the first half at 46.4% (13-28), including 40% (6-15) from three. Mitch Ballock led Creighton and all scorers with 11 points. The Butler bench out-scored the starters, 25-21. Paul Jorgensen had a team-high 10 points off the Butler bench.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior Forward Kelan Martin

Kelan Martin opened the second half scoring with a three, his second of the game, to extend the Butler lead to 49-34 with 19:49 remaining. A Kelan Martin layup extended the lead to 53-36 before Creighton scored the next four points to trim the lead to 53-40 with 17:05 remaining. A layup by Ballock kept the lead at 13 before Butler received layups from Wideman, freshman G Aaron Thompson and a three from Nate Fowler to take a 20 point lead at 62-42 with 13:45 remaining in the game. Creighton scored the next five, including a three from freshman G Ty-Shon Alexander, but Nate Fowler responded with a tip-in and layup to give Butler a 66-47 lead with 11:14 remaining. A 7-2 Creighton run trimmed the lead to 68-54 with 8:11 remaining, before Kelan Martin scored the next seven points, including a third three, during a 7-2 Butler run to take a 75-56 lead with 6:19 remaining. Minutes later, a fourth Martin three and a And-1 layup from Sean McDermott gave the Bulldogs a 22 point lead a 83-61 with 4:09 remaining. A offensive rebound dunk by Fowler kept the lead at 22 before a third Jorgensen three gave the Bulldogs a 24 point lead at 88-64 with 2:25 remaining. Kelan Martin splashed home a fifth three with 1:53 remaining to give Butler its largest lead at 25 points before walking off the Hinkle Fieldhouse court for the final time. A jumper from freshman F Christian David kept the Butler lead at 25 at 93-68 with 0:35 remaining before a Creighton jumper brought us to the final 93-70 score.

The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 54.4% (37-68) from the field, including 53.8% (14-26) from three. Creighton finished at 47.3% (26-55) from the field, including 30.8% (8-26) from three. Butler finished with a higher free throw percentage at 55.6% (5-9) compared to 52.6% (10-19) for Creighton.

Senior F Kelan Martin finished with a game-high 26 points on a 10-15 (66.6%) shooting performance, including 5-7 (71.4%) from three. Martin also recorded a game-high seven rebounds. Martin, who leads the conference in scoring in BIG EAST play, posted 20+ points for the 18th time this season and the 11th time in 16 conference games. Eighteen of his points came in the second half as Butler ran away with the game.

Senior F Tyler Wideman added eight points, four rebounds and three assists

Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin finished with eight points and a game-high four assists and game-high three steals. Led by 17 points from redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen and 15 from junior C Nate Fowler, the Bulldogs had 43 bench points on the night compared to 31 from Creighton. Sophomore G Henry Baddley added nine points with the help of a 3-4 shooting performance from three.

The Bulldogs’ defense limited Creighton to 70 points, 15.4 points below the Bluejays’ season average. Creighton’s Marcus Foster entered the game averaging 20.0 points per game. Butler forced him into 5-15 shooting and only 13 points.

Mitch Ballock led Creighton with 15 points off the bench.

Butler has a week off before embarking on the final two games of the regular season. The Bulldogs travel to St. John’s on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and follow that with a game at Seton Hall three days later in the regular season finale.

Christopher 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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