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Butler Bulldogs Return Home to Host Saint Louis

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs return home from the PK80 Phil Knight Invitational to host the Saint Louis Billikens at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, December 1. The game can be seen on FS1 at 2 PM ET with Vince Welch and Nick Bahe on the call. The Bulldogs sit at 5-2 while Saint Louis enters at 3-3.

Butler and Saint Louis have a long-standing series that includes years as Midwestern Collegiate Conference foes, as well as one season (2012-13) together in the Atlantic 10 Conference. In Butler’s only season in the A10, Saint Louis won three match-ups with the Bulldogs (two regular season and one in the A10 Tournament). Overall, Saint Louis has a 19-11 advantage in the all-time series. This is the first half of a home-and-home agreement that will have the Bulldogs travel to Saint Louis next season.

In its most recent match-up with Saint Louis head coach Travis Ford, Butler lost to his Oklahoma State team, 69-67, in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando on Nov. 29, 2013. Ford’s Cowboys were led by 17 points from Marcus Smart. Former Butler coach Brad Stevens and his Boston Celtics would select Smart with the sixth pick of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Last time on the court for Butler, in their final game of the PK80 Invitational in Portland, the Bulldogs overcame a 15-point deficit with 3:46 to play in regulation to post a 67-66 overtime win over Ohio State. Butler scored 20 points in the final 3:51 of regulation after scoring only 39 points over the first 36 minutes of play. The Bulldogs closed regulation on an 18-3 run, including a game-tying three-pointer from sophomore G Kamar Baldwin with 16 seconds to play. Senior F Kelan Martin scored a game-best 24 points against Ohio State on Sunday, including a contested lay-in with 3.8 seconds remaining in overtime that proved to be the game-winner. Martin tied his career-high with four steals and played a career-high 43 minutes in the contest. While Butler’s offense heated up in the closing minutes, Butler’s defense also stepped up. Ohio State junior G C.J. Jackson made a field goal with 5:31 to play in regulation (making the score 54-39). Ohio State would only have one other field goal through the end of overtime.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior Forward Tyler Wideman

Butler also defeated the Portland State Vikings, 71-69, on Nov. 24 in PK80 play. The Bulldogs shot 51 percent in the contest, the fourth time shooting 50 percent or better this season. Butler is 4-0 in those games. Senior F Tyler Wideman led Butler with 18 points (on 9-of-10 shooting) and eight rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. It marked the second time this season and fifth time in his career that Wideman led the Bulldogs in scoring. Redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen hit a career-best four three-pointers and scored 14 points for the Bulldogs against Portland State. He also had season-highs in assists (five) and rebounds (five). Jorgensen went 4-of-7 from three-point range; the rest of Butler’s team was a combined 0-for-10. Butler’s defense limited Portland State to 44-percent shooting and 69 points. The Vikings had scored 80 or more in each of their first five games this season, including a loss to Duke to open the PK80 when PSU led the Blue Devils at halftime..

For senior F Kelan Martin, Sunday’s game was his 24th career 20-point outing (third this season) and the 34th time in his Butler career that he has led the team in scoring. Just seven games into his senior season, Martin now has 1,416 career points, which is already 16th on Butler’s all-time list. His 544 points in 2016-17 were the seventh-best total for a junior in Butler history.

Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin was held scoreless in the first half of Sunday’s game against Ohio State, missing all five of his attempts over the first 20 minutes. Following the intermission, Baldwin posted 14 points and tied a career-high with four assists.

Prior to the win over Ohio State, Kamar Baldwin had three steals in four consecutive games. He added a single steal against the Buckeyes and is now averaging 2.3 steals per game, which is third in the BIG EAST.

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

Junior C Nate Fowler got his first start of the season and the second of his career in Sunday’s win over Ohio State. Fowler played a career-high 25 minutes and had a career-best three steals to go along with four points and three rebounds.

Redshirt sophomore G/F Sean McDermott will miss 4-6 weeks with an ankle sprain suffered in the Nov. 24 game against Portland State as part of the PK80 Invitational. McDermott scored 17 points in back-to-back games against Maryland and Furman. Entering that week, his career-high was seven points, but he nailed eight of 14 three-point attempts in those two games, including a 5-of-7 performance against Furman.

Markeese Hastings, a 6-7 forward from Wyoming, Mich., has signed a national letter of intent to join the Butler men’s basketball program beginning with the 2018-19 season. As a junior at Godwin Heights High School, Hastings averaged 14.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, and 2.1 assists.

The field for the 2018 Battle 4 Atlantis was officially announced on Nov. 24. Butler will join Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, Oklahoma, Stanford, Dayton, and Middle Tennessee State.

Butler committed only seven turnovers against Princeton on Nov. 12, and is averaging 12.0 per game on the young season. The Bulldogs are third in the BIG EAST in fewest turnovers committed.

The three-point line has not been kind to the Bulldogs this season. Offensively, Butler is hitting only 28.8 percent of their long-range attempts, which is 312th nationally. Defensively, Butler’s opponents are making 43 percent of their attempts, which is 342nd nationally.

Butler has won 38 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents. The streak dates back to a loss to Pittsburgh in the 2012 College Basketball Invitational (CBI). The Bulldogs (5-2 overall) are 3-0 at Hinkle this season. In those three games at Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Bulldogs have scored 80 points in each contest (averaging 83.0 ppg) while shooting 54 percent from the field. Butler is 2-2 away from its home court, averaging 62.8 ppg on 38-percent shooting.

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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