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No. 13/13 Butler Bulldogs Defeat Vermont In Final Non-Conference Test

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #13/13 Butler Bulldogs closed out their non-conference schedule with a win against the Vermont Catamounts at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday, December 21st. Senior F Andrew Chrabascz and junior F Kelan Martin combined for 49 points in the 81-69 victory over Vermont. The Bulldogs improve to 11-1 and Vermont falls to 8-5.

Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann picked up his 100th career win as an NCAA head coach with Wednesday night’s victory. Athletic director Barry Collier presented him with the game ball in the locker room after the game. Collier and Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens were two of the former Butler head coaches in attendance to watch Holtmann reach the career milestone.

“This was certainly a tough game, and we expected that,” said Butler Head Coach Holtmann, who is now 56-23 as head coach at Butler. “Vermont will have a heck of a season. They make things difficult for you. Out of this week, we got exposed in some areas that are concerning. We need to be tougher as we enter BIG EAST play.”

Senior F Andrew Chrabascz came out of the gates hot for the Bulldogs, as he scored the first seven Butler points, including a make from three. But Vermont was a step ahead and built an early 7-2 lead before Chrabascz tied the game at 7-7 with 16:25 remaining in the first half. Vermont retook the lead at 12-11 before Chrabascz was fouled on a left-hand hook shot in the paint and hit the and-1 free throw. Both teams continued to trade buckets before another Chrabascz three and layup from junior F Kelan Martin gave Butler a 29-20 lead with 5:41 remaining before the break. Martin and Chrabascz fueled the Bulldogs to a 14 point lead, their largest of the first half, at 38-24 with 1:30 remaining before the end of the first half. Vermont finished the first half on a buzzer-beater by junior F Drew Urquhart to bring the halftime score to 40-30.

The Bulldogs shot 48.5% (16-33) from the field, including 75% (3-4) from three in the first half. Vermont finished the first half shooting 37.5% (12-32) from the field, including 14.3% (1-7) from three-point range. The Bulldogs were out-rebounded 22-19, but led the in assists with five against four for Vermont.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior F Andrew Chrabascz

The Bulldogs continued the late first half momentum into the second. After a jumper by Vermont freshman G Anthony Lamb to open the second half scoring, Kelan Martin responded with a his second bucket from three. Minutes later, Kelan Martin connected from deep for his third of three makes from behind the arc. That bucket gave Butler a 50-35 lead with 16:34 remaining in the game and its largest lead of the entire game at 15. Vermont battled to cut the lead back to single digits at 61-53 on another Lamb jumper with 9:07 remaining in the game, but the Bulldogs continued to ride the hot hand of Andrew Chrabascz to close the game and retake a 15 point lead at the 5:00, 3:56 and 0:52 mark in the game.

Chrabascz scored 28 points on 12-18 shooting, including 2-5 from three. It was 10 points better than his season-high and just two points shy of his career-best. Martin added 21 points and eight rebounds. He went 6-of-11 from the field, making all three of his attempts from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs shot 57.1% (32-56) for the game, including a 69.6% (16-23) in the second half and 50% (5-10) from three-point range. Under Holtmann, Butler is now 27-0 when scoring 80 or more points and improves to 23-0 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

Redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis had seven assists to go along with five rebounds and four points. Junior F Tyler Wideman and sophomore C Nate Fowler each scored eight points as 65 of Butler’s 81 points came from its frontcourt.

Vermont shot 43% from the field, but turned the ball over only nine times. That was one better than Butler’s 10 miscues. The Bulldogs entered the night ranked third nationally in fewest turnovers. This was the first time this season that Butler committed more turnovers than its opponent.

Freshman F Drew Urquhart and junior G Trae Bell-Haynes led Vermont with 14 points apiece. Urquhart added 10 rebounds as the two teams each ended the night with 32 caroms.

Butler opens BIG EAST Conference play on Thursday, Dec. 29, traveling to St. John’s for a 7 p.m. match-up on FS1. The Bulldogs return to Hinkle Fieldhouse on New Year’s Day to host Providence.

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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