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No. 13/13 Butler Bulldogs Defeat Providence in BIG EAST Home Opener

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #13/13 Butler Bulldogs brought in the New Year with their Big East Conference home opener against the Providence Friars on Sunday, January 1. Butler capitalized on a 62 percent shooting performance to post a 78-61 win at Hinkle Fieldhouse. With the win, Butler levels its BIG EAST record at 1-1 and improves to 12-2 overall. PC is now 10-5 (0-2 in BIG EAST play).

Back-to-back three-pointers from redshirt senior G Kethan Savage gave the Bulldogs a 20-point lead 13 minutes into the game at 33-13. At that point in the contest, Butler was shooting 12-of-15 from the field. At the end of the first half, Butler led 45-26, was shooting 73 percent, and had already received 19 points off its bench.

“I am pleased with a lot of the possessions and really pleased with how we responded from the other night (a loss at St. John’s to open BIG EAST play),” said coach Chris Holtmann. “This season, we’ll need a lot of different contributions, and our bench gave us a great lift tonight.”

The Friars were able to chip away for parts of the second half as a Jalen Lindsey three-pointer pulled the visitors within nine at 65-56 with 6:39 to play. It was the first time that Butler’s lead had been under 10 since a 20-11 advantage less than eight minutes into the contest. Following Lindsey’s triple, Butler responded with the next eight points to put the game out of reach.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Graduate Transfer Guard Avery Woodson

Junior F Kelan Martin led Butler with 15 points and eight rebounds. His first free throw of the day was his 1,000th career point, becoming the 39th Bulldog to reach the feat. Martin led a balanced effort that saw four Bulldogs in double figures, including senior F Andrew Chrabascz (11), graduate transfer G Avery Woodson (11), and Savage (10). Junior F Tyler Wideman had nine points and six rebounds, while redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis and sophomore C Nate Fowler each had eight points. Fowler celebrated his birthday with the New Year’s Day win.

Butler shot 26-of-42 (61.9%) for the game, including 8-of-14 (57.1%) from behind the arc. Butler is now 6-0 this season and 24-0 under Holtmann when shooting 50 percent or better.

The Bulldogs had a 30-26 rebounding advantage. Butler finished with 29 of its points coming from the bench compared to just five for the Friars.

Providence shot 39 percent for the game and committed only 11 turnovers. Kyron Cartwright (26) and Rodney Bullock (17) combined for 43 of the team’s 61 points.

The Bulldogs host defending national champion and top-ranked Villanova on Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The game is sold out and the 6:30 p.m. tip will air 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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