INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #18/18 Butler Bulldogs, looking for its third win in three attempts this season over a Top 25 opponent, pulled out a win over the #9/9 Indiana Hoosiers in the 2016 Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, December 17. Butler improves to 10-1 overall while Indiana falls to 8-2.
Junior F Kelan Martin exploded for a game high 28 points in the victory by connecting on 9-of-16 attempts, including 5-of-9 from three. He was one of three Bulldogs in double figures joined by freshman G Kamar Baldwin and senior F Andrew Chrabascz, who both had 14 points.
The Bulldogs started the game with a turnover following a steal and fastbreak layup by Indiana junior G Robert Johnson. After four straight points by Indiana junior G James Blackmon Jr., Kamar Baldwin hit a corner three to give the Bulldogs their first points of the game at 6-3 with 17:31 remaining in the first half. A three by graduate transfer G Avery Woodson gave Butler an 8-7 lead before Indiana sophomore C Thomas Bryant was fouled on a dunk and hit the and-1 free throw to tie the game at 10-10. The Hoosiers took the lead on an emphatic putback slam by Bryant at 14-12 with 13:05 remaining. With the game tied again at 16-16, Kelan Martin connected on a three to put the Bulldogs back in front. Andrew Chrabascz followed suit and hit a three of his own to give Butler a 22-18 lead with 7:01 before halftime. Indiana kept the score close, but the Bulldogs managed to pull away in the final minutes of the first half. A three by Butler redshirt senior G Kethan Savage gave the Bulldogs a 30-24 lead with 3:43 remaining. Kelan Martin hit back-to-back shots from distance and was fouled on the second make. The Martin and-1 free throw was good to complete a four-point play and give Butler a 40-28 lead with 56 seconds remaining before halftime. A layup with seven seconds remaining by Martin gave Butler its largest lead at 14 points, 42-28, and capped off the first half. Butler closed the first half on a 9-0 run over 1:37.
The Bulldogs shot on 15-32 (46.9%) from the field, including 7-14 (50%) in the first half. Indiana finished the first half shooting 10-31 (32.3%) from the field, including an 0-8 (0%) performance from three. Butler had nine assists and three turnovers compared to four assists and eight turnovers for Indiana.
The Bulldogs opened the second half scoring with a two-handed dunk by junior F Tyler Wideman on a pass from Kelan Martin. The Hoosiers finally hit a three-pointer as Robert Johnson connected to cut the Butler lead to 44-33 with 18:35 remaining. James Blackmon Jr. also found his touch from distance and splashed home a three to trim the lead to single digits, 45-36, with 17:24 remaining. Kamar Baldwin hit his second three of the game to push the Butler lead back to 12, but Indiana sophomore G OG Anunoby hit home a three to trim the lead back to nine at 50-41 with 15:27 remaining. Thankfully for the Bulldogs, the hot hand for Kelan Martin carried over in to the second half. Martin scored the next 10 Butler points, including two more threes, to give Butler a 60-47 lead with 12:23 remaining.
The Bulldogs traded buckets and held a 13 point lead at 70-57 with 7:44 remaining, but an and-1 three-point play and dunk by Thomas Bryant cut the lead down to 70-62. The Hoosiers, led by Bryant and Blackmon Jr. kept battling in the final minutes. A defensive rebound by Bryant led to a third three by Blackmon Jr., which cut the Butler lead to four at 73-69 with 4:01 remaining. A pair of free throws and one by Anunoby trimmed the Butler lead to three at 77-74 with 1:26. Andrew Chrabascz hit two free throws to give the Bulldogs a 79-74 lead with 0:55 left to play, but Blackmon Jr. kept things interesting as he downed his fourth three of the game to cut the lead to 79-77 with 0:38 remaining in the game. Following a Butler timeout, redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis found Tyler Wideman wide open under the basket on an out-of-bounds pass for an easy two-handed dunk to give Butler an 81-77 lead with 0:15 remaining. The Bulldogs would manage to hold on as Indiana went 1-of-2 from the charity strip on the next possession and sent Tyler Lewis to the free throw line for 2-of-2 free throws.
Butler finished the game 27-of-58 (46.6%) from the field, including 10-of-21 (47.6%) from three. Indiana finished the game on a 26-of-59 (44.1%) performance from the field, including 6-of-21 (28.6%) from three. Butler made 19-of-25 (76%) from the free throw line while Indiana made 20-of-26 (76.9%).
“I’m proud of our team; they beat a heck of a team tonight,” said Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann. “We knew they were going to make a run (in the second half), but we wanted to continue to play aggressive and continue to play our game. We had great leadership in those key moments, and Kelan’s scoring was huge for us.”
The Bulldogs lost the battle of the boards, 42-26, but Butler won the turnover battle against IU, 13-6. The Bulldogs turned 13 IU turnovers into 17 points, nine of which came in the opening 20 minutes, and gave up only eight points off of six miscues.
Chrabascz hit a major milestone in the victory by joining the Butler 1,000-point club. His made free throw with 18:01 to play in the second half pushed his career total to 1,000. Chrabascz is the 38th player to reach 1,000 points at Butler and the first to do it since the duo of Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones.
Butler is now 5-1 overall in the Crossroads Classic and 11-3 all-time when playing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Butler will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 21 by hosting Vermont at 7 PM. The final game of the non-conference schedule will air on Fox Sports Network affiliates.
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.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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