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No. 18/18 Butler Bulldogs Remain Perfect with Win Over Central Arkansas

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #18/18 Butler Bulldogs returned home following its first road trip of the season to host the Central Arkansas Bears on Saturday, December 3rd. Junior F Kelan Martin scored 30 points and junior F Tyler Wideman posted the first double-double of his career in the 82-58 win over Central Arkansas at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler shot 49.2% in the contest and had just eight turnovers. With the win, Butler improves to 8-0. UCA falls to 1-7 on the season.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Junior F Kelan Martin
Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Junior F Kelan Martin

The Bulldogs built an early lead following a tough baseline layup by Kelan Martin to open the game. The lead grew to 7-0 on a three-pointer by graduate transfer G Avery Woodson with 17:12 remaining in the first half before the Bears found the scoreboard. Minutes later, the Bulldogs caught fire from distance as Woodson knocked down his second three. Following a Bears miss, redshirt freshman G/F Sean McDermott followed the Woodson three with one of his own. The Bears immediately followed with a three from junior G Jordan Howard, but Woodson responded with his third make from deep to give Butler a 18-7 lead with 13:10 remaining in the first half. Freshman G Kamar Baldwin added to the Butler lead with a wide-open corner three to give Butler its largest lead of the first half at 12 points, 21-9, with 11:34 remaining before halftime. But the Bulldogs suddenly went cold from distance and saw their lead decrease to only two at 23-21 with 8:02 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs, in large thanks to nine Kelan Martin points down the stretch and a floater in the lane that bounced in as time expired in the first half by redshirt senior G Kethan Savage, rebuilt their 12-point lead at 40-28 at halftime.

Butler shot 14-of-33 (42.4%) from the field in the first half, including 5-of-18 (27.8%) from three. The Bears finished the first half shooting 10-of-25 (40%) from the field, including 2-of-11 (18%) from three. Butler totaled 10 assists and two turnovers compared to four assists and eight turnovers by Central Arkansas. The Bulldogs scored 13 points off of the Central Arkansas turnovers while surrendering five off their own.

The Bulldogs came out of the halftime break ready to take control of the game. Tyler Wideman set the tone early, scoring on a two-handed slam for the first points of the second half. After an 0-of-2 performance in the first half, Kelan Martin connected on back-to-back threes to give Butler a 47-31 lead with 17:28 remaining in the game. Jordan Howard cut the Butler lead to eight on a three-pointer before redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis extended the lead to 20 on a three-pointer during a 12-0 Butler run over the next 3:28. Kelan Martin hit his fifth three of the second half to extend the Butler lead to 72-50 with 6:53 remaining in the game. The lead grew to as high as 25 on a Martin layup with 4:58 remaining in the game. Butler quickly emptied its bench and cruised on to the finish line.

Martin finished 11-of-22 from the field, including 5-of-11 from deep with all five three-pointers coming in the second half. It was his second game with 30 or more points as a Bulldog. Wideman had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The 10 boards tied his career-high. He went 4-of-5 from the field, following up on a perfect 6-of-6 performance Monday at Utah.

“Central Arkansas bothered us in some ways today, and you have to give them credit for that,” said Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann. “We didn’t prepare well and we didn’t practice well these last two days, so I’m disappointed in our approach. But, we did a nice job of sharing the ball and that allowed us to get the win.”

Butler had a 34-27 advantage on the boards. In addition to Wideman’s 10 rebounds, senior F Andrew Chrabascz had seven while Martin added six. Redshirt senior G Kethan Savage, in his first extended action of the season, had a game high six assists against no turnovers in 19 minutes. Redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis had seven points and four assists. Three of Butler’s 11 three-pointers belonged to graduate transfer G Avery Woodson, who scored all nine of his points early in the first half.

The Bulldogs shot 31-of-63 (49.2%) from the field, including 11-of-35 (31.4%) from three. Central Arkansas shot 21-of-49 (42.9%) from the field, including 7-of-22 (31.8%) from three and committed 16 turnovers. Jordan Howard led the Bears with 20 points, including 5-of-9 (55.5%) shooting from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs return to action Wednesday, making the short trip to Terre Haute for a game at the Hulman Center against Indiana State. The 7 p.m. tip will be aired online on ESPN3 and through the WatchESPN app.

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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