INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs won their third straight game to open the season with an 80-39 win over the Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds on Saturday (Nov 22.) at Hinkle Fieldhouse. It was the first time that these two universities have played each other in their history. Butler is now 3-0 to start the season.
Freshman guard Kelan Martin turned in a career performance and Butler used another hot shooting effort to cruise to the victory over the visiting Greyhounds Martin, a 6-6 guard from Louisville, Ky., came off the bench and scored a career-high 23 points in 18 minutes to lead the Bulldogs. He hit 9-of-13 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc after going 0-of-5 from three in the first two games. The first-year player also led the Bulldogs with seven rebounds, and he added two assists and a steal. His 23 points were the most by a Butler freshman since Feb. 21, 2009, when current NBA star Gordon Hayward scored 27 against Davidson.
“He really played like he’s practiced the last couple of practices,” said Butler coach Chris Holtmann of his freshman guard. “At the pre-game meal I was thinking, I would not be surprised if Kelan Martin doesn’t play well. He answered the bell here today.”
Martin came off the bench with Butler trailing, 8-6, and immediately delivered an assist on a three-point field goal by junior guard Kellen Dunham. He then came up with a steal, which led to his own three-pointer. Just over a minute later, he had an assist on a three-point field goal by junior transfer Austin Etherington, as the Bulldogs stretched their lead to 19-10.
The talented freshman finished the first half with 13 points, and Butler went to the locker room with a 42-18 lead.
“I was really proud of our guys maturity. We didn’t start the best, but for the bulk of the game we had really good attention to detail,” noted Holtmann. (Assistant coach) Michael Lewis called a really, really good offensive game, and (Assistant coach) Terry Johnson had our guys really set up for our defensive game plan. Those guys were locked in on what Loyola was doing,” added the Butler coach.
Holtmann was able to use his entire bench in the second half, as the Bulldogs stretched their advantage to as many as 43 points, 73-30, in the closing minutes.
Dunham, who led the Bulldogs in scoring in their first two games this year, finished with 13 points and junior Roosevelt Jones added 10.
The Bulldogs shot 55.6% (15-27) from the floor in the first half, including 60% (6-10) from the three-point arc. Butler finished the game with a 53.6% (30-56) shooting mark and a 56.3% (9-16) total from three-point range. The Greyhounds have held opponents to only 20.7% from three through their three games headed into last Saturday against Butler.
The Bulldogs played an outstanding brand of defense, limiting the Greyhounds to only three players to score at least one point for the entire. While only three players scored, 11 Greyhounds had at least one turnover and the team coughed up a total of 20 in the game.
Eric Laster led Loyola (2-2) with a game-high 24 points, while teammate Franz Rassman topped all players with 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs will now head to the Bahamas to participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis, perhaps the the premier in-season tournament this year. Butler will meet #6 North Carolina in the opening round on Wednesday (Nov.26) at noon (ET). Also participating in the eight-team field are #3 Wisconsin, #8 Florida, #18 Oklahoma, UCLA, Georgetown and UAB.
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.
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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