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Butler Bulldogs Return Home to Host Morehead State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, coming off a loss to #16/16 Purdue in the 2017 Crossroads Classic, return to Hinkle Fieldhouse to host the Morehead State Eagles on Tuesday, December 19. The game is set to tip at 8:30 PM ET on FS1 with Vince Welch and Jordan Cornette on the call. The Bulldogs enter with an 8-3 record while the Eagles sit at 4-6.

This is the first meeting between Butler and Morehead State as men’s basketball opponents. The two universities are both members of the Pioneer Football League, a non-scholarship conference at the FCS level. On the football field this season, Butler defeated the Eagles, 44-6, back on Oct. 7. The teams have met 22 times in football.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Redshirt Junior Guard Paul Jorgensen

Last time on the court, Butler had its five-game winning streak end Saturday at the hands of the then-ranked #17/17 Purdue Boilermakers, falling 82-67 in the 2017 Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Boilermakers limited Butler to 21-percent shooting in the first half, jumping out to a 35-19 halftime advantage that the Bulldogs could not overcome. Butler’s 19 points in the first half Saturday tied a season-low for the Bulldogs (first half vs. Texas, Nov. 23). However, the second half – as Butler shot 53 percent including six three-pointers – tied for the best offensive 20 minutes this season for the Bulldogs. The 48 points equaled the best output for a half so far this season (previously done twice). Butler forced Purdue into 18 turnovers Saturday, a common theme for the Bulldogs’ defense this season and Butler out-rebounded Purdue, 37-31, largely due to 18 offensive rebounds, It was Butler’s first loss this season when out-rebounding an opponent (now 6-1). Purdue led Butler by 26 points with 13:37 to play Saturday. The Bulldogs trimmed the lead to nine points with 3:03 to play. Much of that was due to redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen and sophomore G Kamar Baldwin. The duo started the game a combined 2-of-18 from the field before hitting nine of 13 shots down the stretch.

Over the past five games, Butler senior F Kelan Martin is averaging 21.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game; he has made 15 of 16 free throw attempts. Martin has three double-doubles on the season and 13 in his career. Martin also has 26 career 20-point outings and has led the team in scoring 37 times in his Butler career.

29 points against Utah were a season-high for Martin, and the third-best scoring output of his Butler career. He made a career-best 12 field goals in the game against the Utes, and in doing so, passed Bobby Plump for 15th on Butler’s career scoring list. Martin, now with 1,497 career points, is 14th in all-time scoring, 30 points shy of Shelvin Mack.

Martin leads the BIG EAST in minutes per game so far this season (35.5).

Butler sophomore G Kamar Baldwin is fourth in the BIG EAST, averaging 2.0 steals per game. He had a four-game stretch earlier this season (Nov. 15 at Maryland through Portland State on Nov. 24) where he had three steals in each contest. Baldwin had 59 steals last season, a mark that is eighth on Butler’s single-season list. He had seven games of three or more steals last season.

Kamar Baldwin has 29 assists through 11 games after handing out only 50 assists in 34 games last season. Kamar Baldwin sits at eight in the BIG EAST in minutes per game so far this season (31.8 minutes per game).

Butler senior F Tyler Wideman and redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen combine to average 24.4 points per game on 60.3-percent shooting in Butler’s eight wins. The duo scored a combined 10.0 points per game on 35-percent shooting in the team’s three losses.

Wideman is third in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (66.2) and fifth in offensive rebounding (2.4 per game).

Butler redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen is 19-37 (51%) from three-point range over the team’s last six games; he is averaging 13.5 points per game during that stretch. Paul Jorgensen is third on the team in assists (26), and has only committed six turnovers on the season.

Butler redshirt sophomore G/F Sean McDermott, sidelined since Nov. 24 with an ankle sprain, returned to action Saturday against Purdue. McDermott started the first six games of the season before the injury. His 41-percent shooting from three-point range is second on the team.

Dec. 19 is the birthday of Tony Hinkle. He was born in 1899.

Butler has turned its opponent over an average of 16.4 times per game this season. That has contributed greatly to a +3.7 turnover margin on the year. The Bulldogs average 7.5 steals per game. Butler had nine steals against the Boilermakers, just off the season-high 11 steals Butler swiped in the win over Ohio State on Nov. 26.

Butler’s 7.5 steals per game are second in the BIG EAST, while the team’s +3.7 turnover margin is third.

The three-point line has not been kind to the Bulldogs this season. Offensively, Butler is hitting only 31.4 percent of their long-range attempts. Defensively, Butler’s opponents are making 40 percent of their attempts. Both of those averages are last in the BIG EAST. However, the discrepancy narrows to .315-.350 over the Bulldogs’ five most recent games.

Butler has won the points-in-the-paint battle in all eight of its wins this season. The Bulldogs had a season-best 62 points in the paint against Youngstown State on Dec. 9. The +36 discrepancy in paint points was also a season-best for the Bulldogs. On the season, Butler is averaging a +13.8 edge in points in the paint.

The Bulldogs are 6-0 at Hinkle this season. In those six games, the Bulldogs are averaging 83.3 points per game while shooting 54 percent from the field. Butler is 2-3 away from its home court, averaging 63.6 ppg on 38-percent shooting.

The Bulldogs are undefeated when any of the following occur: leading at halftime (7-0), shooting a better percentage from the field than their opponent (6-0), or shooting 50 percent or better from the field (6-0).

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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