INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, coming off a home win against Creighton, took to the road for a BIG EAST Conference matchup against the St. John’s Red Storm at Carnesecca Arena. Butler fought back from a 12-point second half deficit with 15:56 remaining in the game to force overtime, but the Bulldogs couldn’t close the overtime period and were overpowered in double-overtime. Butler falls to 19-11, (9-8 BIG EAST) with the loss while St. John’s improves to 15-15 (4-13 BIG EAST).
A three by senior G/F Bashir Ahmed opened the scoring and gave St. John’s a 3-0 lead with 19:06 remaining in the first half. A jumper from Butler senior F Kelan Martin and free throw from senior F Tyler Widman tied the game at 3-3 before another three from Bashir Ahmed gave the Red Storm a 6-3 lead with 16:59 remaining in the first half. Kelan Martin immediately responded with a three to tie the game before a three from redshirt sophomore F Sean McDermott gave the Bulldogs a 9-6 lead with 16:01 remaining in the first half. A 7-0 Red Storm run that was capped off with a steal and fastbreak dunk from redshirt junior F Tariq Owens gave St. John’s a 13-9 lead with 13:47 remaining in the first half. With the help of five points from redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen, including a make from three, Butler responded with a 9-4 run to take an 18-17 lead with 10:25 remaining in the first half. A Red Storm jumper and third three of the game by Ahmed put St. John’s back in front at 22-18 with 7:18 remaining in the first half. A 7-2 Butler run gave the Bulldogs a lead at 25-24 with 1:12 remaining before halftime. But back-to-back steals and scores by redshirt sophomore G Justin Simon closed the first half and gave the Red Storm a 28-25 halftime lead as Paul Jorgensen missed on a buzzer-beater three.
The Bulldogs shot 34.5% (10-29) from the field, including 25% (3-12) from three. St. John’s finished the first half at 46.2% (12-26) from the field, including 50% (3-6) from three. Bashir Ahmed led all scorers with 11 points.
The Red Storm opened the second half with a 9-0 run to take a 37-25 lead with 15:56 remaining in the game. Thankfully for the Bulldogs, Paul Jorgensen scored the next seven points of the game, including a make from three, to trim the lead 37-32 with 14:36 remaining. Butler continued with a 7-4 run as the Bulldogs received a layup from junior C Nate Fowler and five more Jorgensen points, including a third three, to cut the Red Storm lead to 41-39 with 12:09 remaining. A technical foul on Jorgensen for taunting and back-to-back fouls led to three Red Storm free throws to extend the lead to 44-39, but a three from sophomore G Henry Baddley trimmed the lead to 44-42 with 11:16 remaining. The Baddley three sparked an 11-2 Butler run that included a fastbreak steal and dunk by Baddley and three by sophomore G Kamar Baldwin that helped push Butler back in front with a 50-46 lead and 5:40 remaining in the game. The Red Storm scored the next three points before a three by Kelan Martin, his first points of the second half, extended the Butler lead to 53-49 with 2:28 remaining. Free throws by Bashir Ahmed trimmed the lead down to two before a corner three by Nate Fowler extended the Butler lead to 56-51 with 1:02 remaining. A layup from Justin Simon cut the Butler lead to 56-53 with 0:46 remaining. Kelan Martin scored on a difficult runner in the lane that all but sealed the Butler win and gave the Bulldogs a 58-53 lead with 0:17 remaining, but a three from redshirt junior F Marvin Clark II cut the lead to 58-56 with 0:12 remaining. A Butler turnover gave the ball back to the Red Storm and Justin Simon was able to connect on a layup off a drive and spin in the lane to tie the game at 58-58 with 0:04 remaining. A missed three-pointer to win the game by Kamar Baldwin sent the game to overtime.
In the first overtime, St. John’s opened with a 6-0 run to take a 64-58 lead with 2:21 remaining. A three by Kamar Baldwin to stop the bleeding at the 1:54 mark led to three free throws to tie the game at 64-64 with 0:48 remaining as Baldwin was fouled on a three point attempt. A steal by Butler freshman G Aaron Thompson and a missed jumper by Kelan Martin with 0:11 remaining gave the Red Storm a chance to win the game. A free throw range jumper by Justin Simon with 0:01 remaining bounced no good and sent the game to double-overtime.
In the second and deciding overtime, a layup by Kelan Martin gave Butler a 66-64 lead with 3:21 remaining. A pair of free throws from Justin Simon tied the game before Butler responded with a layup from Sean McDermott to take a 68-66 lead with 2:49 remaining. But a series of missed shots by Butler led to a 9-0 St. John’s run as the Bulldogs failed to score again and the Red Storm closed Senior Night with a 75-68 win.
The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 35.1% (26-74) from the field, including 28.6% (10-35) from three. St. John’s finished the game at 47.3% (26-55) from the field, including 33.3% (4-12) from three. St. John’s finished with a better free throw percentage at 82.6% (19-23) compared to 50% (6-12) by Butler.
St. John’s overcame 24 turnovers and the absence of star sophomore G Shamorie Ponds, who missed the game with an abdominal injury.
Senior F Kelan Martin and redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen led the Bulldogs with 17 points apiece. Jorgensen scored his 17 points off the bench on a 50% (7-14) shooting night, including 37.5% (3-8) from three.
Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin added 11 and junior C Nate Fowler finished with 10 points. Freshman G Aaron Thompson tied a game-high five assists. Butler’s bench outscored SJU, 32-0.
Justin Simon (24), Bashir Ahmed (22) and Marvin Clark II (20) combined for 66 of the Red Storm’s 75 points.
The Bulldogs close out the regular season Saturday at Seton Hall. The 8 PM ET start will air on CBS Sports Network.
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 @CafultzISRand the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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