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Butler Bulldogs Snap Three Game Losing Streak with Win Over Providence

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, looking to snap a four game losing streak, hosted the Providence Friars at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, February 17. Senior F Kelan Martin led Butler with a game-high 19 points in the 69-54 win. Butler improves to 18-10 (8-7 BIG EAST) while Providence falls to 17-10 (8-6 BIG EAST).

“I’m really proud of our response,” said Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan. “Coming off three tough losses, we needed to respond, and we did. We had to grind it out and fight through some adversity. We found a way to beat a very good team. It wasn’t a game of perfect, but it never is. That’s one we can be proud of.”

The Friars opened the game with a 4-0 lead at the 18:59 first half mark before layups from freshman G Aaron Thompson and jumper from senior F Kelan Martin gave the Bulldogs a 6-4 lead with 16:44 remaining in the first half. Providence took the lead on a three from sophomore G Alpha Diallo, but Kelan Martin responded with a three of his own for 9-7 with 16:18 remaining in the first half. The Friars answered with an 8-0 run to take a 15-9 lead with 14:07 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs trimmed the lead to two before Friars freshman G Makai Ashton-Langford hit a three. Butler junior C Nate Fowler answered with a three before redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen scored on a jumper to tie the game at 18-18 with 10:18 remaining in the first half. The Friars reclaimed the lead on a three by junior G Isaiah Jackson at 21-18 with 9:01 remaining in the first half. Senior F Tyler Wideman scored the next six Butler points to keep the Bulldogs in the game and cut the lead to 25-24 with 4:18 remaining in the first half. Redshirt sophomore F Sean McDermott tied the game on a three before it was immediately answered with a three from sophomore G Maliek White. Kelan Martin answered with a three before the Friars again responded with a make from deep by Maliek White to take a 33-30 lead with 2:12 remaining before halftime. A pair of free throws by Kelan Martin trimmed the lead to 33-32 before a jumper from senior G Kyron Cartwright extended the lead to 35-32 with 1:25 remaining in the first half. A free throw by Aaron Thompson with 0:39 remaining in the first half sent the game to halftime with a 35-33 Providence lead.

The Bulldogs finished the first half shooting 42.9% (12-28) from the field, including 40% (4-10) from three. Providence finished the first half at 46.4% (13-28) from the field, including 42.9% (6-14) from three. Kelan Martin led all scorers with 10 first half points.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior Forward Kelan Martin

Butler opened the second half with a layup from Martin to tie the game at 35-35 with 19:45 remaining. The layup sparked a 14-2 Butler run that gave the Bulldogs a 47-37 lead with 11:37 remaining. The run ended after Isaiah Jackson hit a three for Providence to bring the lead to 47-40 with 11:18 remaining. Following a pair of Providence free throws, the Bulldogs put together a 10-3 run with the help of six Jorgensen points to take a 57-43 lead with 7:17 remaining. Providence responded with a 6-0 run capped off by a third three by Maliek White to trim the Butler lead to 57-49 with 3:43 remaining. But a dunk from senior F Tyler Wideman pushed the lead back to ten and a third three from Kelan Martin after a pair of Providence free throws pushed the lead to 62-51 with 1:48 remaining. The Friars were forced to foul the rest of the way and the Bulldogs built a 15-point lead with the help of seven free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 45.5% (25-55) from the field, including 29.4% (5-17) from three. Providence finished the game shooting 30% (18-60) from the field, including 28.6% (8-28) from three. The Bulldogs finished with a higher free throw percentage at 77.8% (14-18) compared to Providence at 66.7% (10-15).

Other than allowing St. John’s 45 points in a win Jan. 27, the 54 points by Providence were the lowest of the season for a Butler opponent in BIG EAST Conference play.

Senior F Kelan Martin finished with a game-high 19 points. Redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen, coming off the bench for the first time since November, provided a spark with 12 points. Senior F Tyler Wideman added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Freshman G Aaron Thompson had seven points and a career-best and team-high eight rebounds.

Only two Providence players made it to double figures. The trio of Rodney Bullock, Jalen Lindsay and Kyron Cartwright combined for 11 points on 3-of-23 shooting; they entered the game averaging a combined 36.1 points per game.

The Bulldogs are back in action Tuesday night, hosting Creighton in the final home game of the 2017-18 season. It will be Senior Night for Tyler Wideman and Kelan Martin, who will be recognized in a postgame ceremony. A limited number of tickets remain for the 7 PM ET tip, which will air nationally on FS1.

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 @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.

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