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Butler Bulldogs Smoke Norfolk State in Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational Matchup

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs picked up their second win of the two Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational games played at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Monday, November 21. Butler sophomore C Nate Fowler led all scorers with a career high 17 points as the Bulldogs smoked the Norfolk State Spartans, 91-55. The Bulldogs now head west for the remainder of the event. Butler is 4-0 on the season, while Norfolk State falls to 2-3.

Butler shot 58.2% from the field and assisted on 26 of the team’s 32 made field goals. The Bulldogs knocked down 13 three-pointers on 13-28 (46.4%) shooting and had five players register double figures.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Sophomore C Nate Fowler
Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Sophomore C Nate Fowler

After coming up with the opening tip, the Bulldogs scored the first points of the game on a drive down the lane and layup by senior F Andrew Chrabascz. A steal by junior F Kelan Martin led to an easy fast break layup for Martin. That steal was one of four straight Norfolk State turnovers in its first four possessions. After a Martin jumper, the Spartans found the scoreboard with two free throws to bring the Butler lead to 6-2 with 16:49 remaining in the first half. But things didn’t get easier after that for Norfolk State as Butler began flexing its offensive weapons. Redshirt junior PG Tyler Lewis threw an alley-oop to junior F Tyler Wideman from the three-point line to give Butler a 9-6 lead. With the score at 12-10 in favor of the Bulldogs, redshirt freshman G/F Sean McDermott ended a 0-5 three-point shooting performance for Butler with a three of his own with 10:56 remaining in the first half. Shortly after, the Bulldogs caught fire from distance. Kelan Martin drained his first to give Butler a 24-14 lead with 8:58 remaining in the first. Butler capitalized on another Lewis to Wideman alley-oop, this time coming in the form of an inbounds pass underneath the basket. Following the thunderous Wideman slam, Butler put together five straight 3-point scoring plays. Those five scoring plays came on a Kelan Martin three, Tyler Lewis three, an and-1 layup from freshman G Kamar Baldwin and back-to-back unanswered threes by Chrabascz. Following four makes on two trips to the free throw line for freshman C Joey Brunk, the Bulldogs extended the lead to 45-21 with 2:45 before the break. Another Butler three by graduate transfer G Avery Woodson extended the Butler lead to 27, the largest of the first half, with the score at 48-21 with 2:00 remaining before halftime. The Bulldogs ended the first half with a 21-3 run to take a 50-24 halftime advantage.

Butler shot 50% (15-30) from the field, including 46.7% (7-15) from three while Norfolk State shot 28% (7-25) from the field, including 22.2% (2-9) from deep in the first half. The Bulldogs converted 10 Norfolk State turnovers into 14 points while surrendering six points off three of their own turnovers.

Thankfully for the Bulldogs, the hot hand from long range carried over to the second half. Avery Woodson opened with three straight makes from deep to give Butler a 59-24 lead with 17:55 remaining in the game. A fourth Avery Woodson three came after a free throw by Kelan Martin to give Butler a 63-26 lead with 14:51 remaining. A three-point attempt by sophomore C Nate Fowler found the bottom of the net to extend the lead to 40 at the 13:58 mark. Freshman G Henry Baddley left his exclamation mark on the game with a effortless two-hand dunk on the baseline following an assist by senior G Trey Pettus. On the next Butler possession, it was Baddley who served up a nice dish to Fowler for a layup to give Butler a 45 point lead, the largest of the game, with the score at 81-36 and 6:38 remaining in the game. With the bench emptied, dunks by Nate Fowler and Joey Brunk, and the last four points of the game from Trey Pettus, the Bulldogs cruised to the finish line.

“I’m really pleased with our effort tonight and how we shared the ball,” said Butler coach Chris Holtmann. “We have some stiff tests upcoming, and we’re excited to travel together for the first time. Hopefully out of these first four games, our guys have gotten a reinforced belief in our system and the importance of playing together on both ends.”

Graduate transfer G Avery Woodson had 15 points on five triples in just 12 minutes of play. Junior F Kelan Martin and senior F Andrew Chrabascz each had 11 points in limited action, while freshman C Joey Brunk added a career-high 10 points off the bench.

Fowler’s night included a 6-of-7 performance from the field and a team-leading and career-best seven rebounds. Redshirt junior PG Tyler Lewis had eight assists, including seven in the opening half. Twelve of the 13 players who saw action Monday night contributed to the 26 assists.

Butler limited Norfolk State to 31-percent shooting and forced the visitors into 15 turnovers. The Bulldogs turned those turnovers into 22 points. Jonathan Wade and Micah Goss each had 13 points for NSU.

Butler travels to Las Vegas for the remainder of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The Bulldogs will meet Vanderbilt Thursday night at 8 p.m. (Eastern). Butler will then play either Arizona or Santa Clara on Friday. Both games will be broadcast nationally only FS1.

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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