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Butler Bulldogs Defeat Saint Louis at Hinkle Fieldhouse

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs returned home from the PK80 Phil Knight Invitational to host the Saint Louis Billikens on Saturday, December 2 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Senior F Kelan Martin led the Bulldogs with 20 points and game-high 12 rebounds as Butler defeated Saint Louis, 75-45. Butler improved to 6-2 on the season while Saint Louis fell to 3-4.

“Energy was something we talked about leading into today’s game and our guys brought that today,” said Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan. “Kelan’s leadership has been really important for us, and once again, he was steady and poised. That’s becoming a lot of who he is.”

The Bulldogs jumped on the Billikens early and never looked back. Butler received a three from Kelan Martin to open the game. The Martin three was followed up by a three from redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen. A layup by junior C Nate Fowler gave Butler an 8-0 lead with 16:09 remaining in the first half. Saint Louis found the scoreboard on a pair of free throws from redshirt junior G/F Javon Bess at the 15:29 mark, but those two points were immediately followed up by another three from Jorgensen for the 11-2 lead. A three from sophomore G/F Henry Baddley extended the Butler lead to 18-6 with 11:14 remaining in the first half before the lead grew to 24-6 with 7:54 to play before halftime. A fast break dunk from Kelan Martin off a Jorgensen steal and a three from sophomore G Kamar Baldwin helped extend the lead to 29 points with a 42-13 halftime lead.

Butler shot 53.6% (15-28) from the field in the first half, including 46.2% (6-13) from three. The Billikens finished the first half at 19% (4-21) from the field, including 0% (0-8) from three. Butler had assists on nine of its first 12 field goals and turned 13 Saint Louis turnovers in the first half into 17 points.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior Forward Kelan Martin

The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 10-0 scoring run with Martin accountable for six of the points. The run extended the Butler lead to 52-13 with 16:24 remaining in the game. Sophomore F Jalen Johnson was able to connect on a three for Saint Louis, the first of the game for the team, to end the 10-0 Butler run. But the Bulldogs continued to roll and extended the lead to 40 points at 58-18 on a pair of Baldwin free throws with 13:47 remaining in the game. A three pointer from Kelan Martin kept the Butler lead at 40 with a 63-23 score at the 10:07 mark. The Bulldogs were able to empty their bench in the final minutes Saint Louis trimmed the 40-point lead down to 30 for the final 75-45 score.

The Bulldogs shot 49.1% (26-53) from the field for the game, including 36.4% (8-22) from three. The Billikens finished at 28.6% (14-49) from the field, including 21.1% (4-19) from three for the game. The Bulldogs dominated the rebounding battle, 41-26, and assists, 15-4.

For Martin, it was his second double-double of the season (12th of his career) and his fourth 20-point outing (and 25th career). With his 20 points Saturday, he now has 1,436 for his career, which is just three points shy of Bobby Plump for 15th on Butler’s all-time list.

Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin finished with 14 points on a 5-10 (50%) shooting performance, including 2-6 (33.3%) from three. Redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen finished with 11 points on a 3-9 (33.3%) performance, including 3-6 (50%) from three. Baldwin had four rebounds and three assists, while Jorgensen had four assists and game-high three steals.

Sophomore G/F Henry Baddley came off the bench to post career-highs with nine points and seven rebounds. Freshman G Aaron Thompson had game-high five assists.

Saint Louis’s point total was the fewest by a Butler opponent since a 100-41 win over Manchester during the 2013-14 season. The most recent Butler foe to score less than 50 was a 56-48 win over Texas in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Saint Louis redshirt junior G/F Javon Bess had a game-high 22 points.

The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday night, hosting Utah at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The 9 p.m. tip will air 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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