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No. 12/13 Butler Bulldogs Fight Back to Defeat Marquette At Hinkle Fieldhouse

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #12/13 Butler Bulldogs played their second game in less than 48 hours at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Monday, January 16, as the Marquette Golden Eagles came to town for a BIG EAST Conference matchup. Junior F Kelan Martin helped Butler erase a 16-point halftime deficit by scoring a team-high 22 points in the 88-80 win. With the win, Butler improves to 16-3 (5-2 BIG EAST) while Marquette falls to 12-6 (3-3 BIG EAST).

“That was a roller coaster game for sure,” said Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann. “We needed to respond to what they did in the first half, and our guys did. We picked up the pressure defensively and played with more freedom offensively in the second half. That allowed our guys to make plays. Getting to the free throw line was critical…and being at Hinkle was critical.”

The Bulldogs struggled early in the game and were quickly down 12-6 after a jumper by Marquette freshman G Markus Howard with 16:11 remaining in the first half. Howard had scored the first seven Marquette points and nine of their 12 up to that point. A three by Butler freshman G Kamar Baldwin cut the lead to 12-9, but Howard was there to respond with another make from deep on the next possession for a 15-9 lead with 14:50 before break. A few minutes later, 6-0 run by Marquette pushed the lead to 25-13 with 8:26 remaining. A Howard layup and 16th point of the game pushed the lead back to 12 at 27-15 before Butler junior F Tyler Wideman grabbed an offensive rebound and fought through contact in the post for an And-1 bucket. Wideman hit the free throw and cut the lead to 27-18 with 6:02 in the first half. The Wideman 3-point play was the beginning of a 7-0 Butler run that cut the lead to 27-22 with 4:31 in the first half. But the Golden Eagles received two threes from freshman G/F Sam Hauser and two threes from redshirt junior G Andrew Rowsey to help build a 16 point lead. The second Rowsey three came with 0:41 remaining in the first half to give Marquette the 41-25 lead at halftime.

Butle shot 11-of-30 (36.7%) from the field in the first half, including 1-of-8 (12.5%) from three. Marquette finished the first half shooting 15-30 (50%), including 7-of-15 (46.7%) from three. Butler lost the rebounding contest, 19-15. Butler also surrendered four turnovers compared to three by Marquette. The 25 first half points tied a season low as Butler scored only 25 points in the first half on Saturday.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Junior Forward Kelan Martin

Thankfully for Butler, the second half would be a complete 180 for the Bulldogs. Two Marquette free throws to open the second half gave the Golden Eagles their largest lead of the game, 18 points, at 43-25 with 19:17 remaining. But scrappy defense from Baldwin and five points from redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis, including one make from three, helped spark an 11-0 run that cut the Marquette lead to 46-40 with 14:39 remaining in the game. An And-1 layup by redshirt senior G Kethan Savage cut the Marquette lead to 51-47 with 12:42 remaining. A Baldwin layup cut the lead to two and a three-pointer by graduate transfer G Avery Woodson cut the Marquette lead to one at 55-54 with 10:13 left in the game. The Bulldogs were finally able to take the lead on a jumper by junior F Kelan Martin at 60-59 with 8:24 remaining. That bucket was followed up by another Woodson three off a Marquette turnover to give Butler a 63-59 lead with 8:00 remaining. The Golden Eagles retook the lead on a 7-0 run on another Rowsey three at 66-63 with 6:07 remaining. But Butler retook the lead on a Martin jumper at 69-68 and Baldwin scored five straight points, including another from deep, to extend the lead to 74-68 with 3:50 remaining. A fifth foul on Marquette senior C Luke Fischer sent Martin to the line for two free throws and a 76-70 lead with 2:48 left. Jumpers from Baldwin and Martin led to free throws down the stretch for Butler as Savage connected on two to give Butler its largest lead of the game, nine points, at 83-74 with 0:42 remaining. The Bulldogs would close the game at the line for the 88-80 victory.

On Saturday afternoon, Butler scored a season-best 58 points in the second half in a win over Xavier. Monday’s 63 second half performance topped it. After the break, Butler shot 19-of-27 (70.4%) from the field, including 4-of-5 (80%) from behind the arc, and 21-of-26 (80.8%) at the free throw line, all without committing a turnover

Butler shot 30-of-57 (52.6%) percent for the game, including 5-of-13 (38.5%) from three and made 23-of-30 (76.7%) free throws. Butler improves to 9-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points. The Bulldogs committed a season-low four turnovers and out-rebounded, Marquette, 32-28.

Junior F Kelan Martin had a team-high 22 points for the Bulldogs on 9-of-14 (64.3%) shooting. He added seven rebounds. Martin led five Bulldogs in double figures for Butler; Howard led five in double figures for Marquette. Kamar Baldwin had 18 points on 8-of-13 (61.5%) shooting for the Bulldogs, followed by Kethan Savage (17), Tyler Lewis (10), and senior F Andrew Chrabascz (10).

Marquette finished the game shooting 26-of-58 (48.3%) from the field, including 10-of-26 (38.5%) from three. After shooting 7-of-15 from three-point range to take their first half lead, Marquette made only three of 11 attempts in the second half.

Butler overcoming a 16-point lead was reminiscent of a Nov. 23, 2011 contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse when the Bulldogs turned a 50-35 halftime deficit to Gardner-Webb into a 68-66 win. The coach for Gardner-Webb on that trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse was Chris Holtmann.

After two games in less than 48 hours, the Bulldogs are off until a Saturday contest in Chicago against DePaul. The 2 p.m. (Eastern) tip will air nationally on 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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