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Butler Bulldogs Defeat Utah at Hinkle Fieldhouse

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs completed the back end of a home-and-home by sweeping the Utah Utes at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Tuesday, December 5. Senior F Kelan Martin scored a game-high 29 points and recorded a game-high 11 rebounds in the 81-69 win. Butler improves to 7-2 while Utah falls to 6-2.

“I’m really proud of the fight in this group,” said Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan. “Our seniors are growing every day, and you see these stretches of their leadership when you hear their voices more. Kelan got one to fall early, and then Paul did. It gets contagious. We did a really good job of finding each other tonight and getting good looks.”

The Bulldogs opened the game with a jumper from senior F Kelan Martin before senior G/F Gabe Bealer responded with a three for Utah. Martin went on to score the next four of six points for the Bulldogs before redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen connected on a three to give Butler a 11-6 lead at the 15:33 first half mark. Martin would extend on the lead with a layup before the Utes rattled off an impressive 19-4 run to take a 25-17 lead with 9:16 remaining in the first half. During that run, the Utes received three-pointers from Bealer, senior F Tyler Rawson and senior G Justin Bibbins and an And-1 play from freshman F Donnie Tillman. A second three from Paul Jorgensen would end the Utah run and close the gap to 25-20 with 7:24 remaining before halftime. The Jorgensen three sparked a 14-6 Butler run to close the first half. Kelan Martin would go on to hit back-to-back three-pointers for Butler. His second in a row cut the lead down to one at 29-28 with 3:35 remaining in the first half. Jorgensen would connect on two free throws and went on to hit a jumper to give Butler the lead at 32-31 with 1:02 remaining before the halftime break. A pump-fake and drive down the left side of the lane for a buzzer-beating layup by senior F Tyler Wideman would give Butler a 34-31 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs shot 46.2% (12-26) from the field in the first half, including 33.3% (4-12) from three. Utah finished the first half at 41.4% (12-29) from the field, including 44.4% (4-9) from three. Kelan Martin led all scorers with 14 points.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior Forward Kelan Martin

Freshman G Aaron Thompson opened the second half scoring to give Butler a 36-31 lead with 19:49 remaining. But the Utes scored five straight points, including a three from junior G Sedrick Barefield to tie the game at 36-36 with 18:45 remaining in the game. Another three from Gabe Bealer tied the game again at 39-39 with 17:50 remaining before a Butler 14-0 run early in the second half proved to be decisive in the contest as all five starters contributed to the spurt. A third three-pointer from Paul Jorgensen capped the run and gave Butler a 53-39 lead with 14:13 to play. Minutes later, Kelan Martin would drive the lane for a thunderous one-hand slam to bring fans to their feet and a 58-45 lead at the 11:10 mark. Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin scored seven straight Butler points, including a make from three, to extend the lead to 15 points at 70-55 with 5:41 remaining in the game. A Kelan Martin jumper kept the lead at 15 points at 72-57 with 4:54 remaining before the Utes went on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to six at 72-66 with 2:39 remaining. A three from Donnie Tillman cut the lead down to five at 74-69 with 2:22 remaining, but Kelan Martin responded with five straight points, including a third make from three. The five points brought the lead to 79-69 with 1:13 remaining as Tyler Wideman hit two free throws down the stretch for the final 81-69 score.

The Bulldogs shot 54.5% (30-55) from the field, including 40% (8-20) from three. Utah finished at 42.4% (25-59) from the field, including 43.5% (10-23) from three.

Butler senior F Kelan Martin finished with a game-high 29 points on a 12-19 (63.2%) performance from the field, including 3-8 (37.5%) from three, and a game-high 11 rebounds. For Martin, the 29 points are a season-high as he registered his third double-double of the season (second in a row).

Martin’s first four points of the night moved him ahead of Butler great Bobby Plump for 15th on the school’s all-time scoring list. Martin now has 1,465 career points and five games of 20+ this season.

Butler redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen tied his career-high with 16 points, featuring a 4-of-6 (66.6%) night from three-point range. Senior F Tyler Wideman went 6-7 from the field and 6-8 at the free throw line for 18 points. He added six rebounds. Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Jorgensen added four assists.

Butler’s frontcourt limited the Utah duo of senior F David Collette and senior F Tyler Rawson to a combined nine points on 2-of-9 shooting. The pair entered the game averaging a combined 24.8 points. Donnie Tillman led the Utes with 20 points.

All 81 of Butler’s points came from their starters

The win over Utah extends Butler’s streak of home wins over non-conference opponents to 40. On the season, Butler is undefeated at home (5-0), when leading at halftime (6-0), shooting better than 50 percent from the field (5-0), and out-rebounding its opponent (5-0).

Butler returns to action Saturday with a noon tip against Youngstown State. Tickets are still available for the game, which will air on FOX Sports Network regional affiliates including FOX Sports Indiana.

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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