Butler Basketball thrills in a last second victory over the Northwestern Wildcats at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Despite a poor shooting first half that left the Bulldogs down three in the first half to get the big win for the home fans. Kamar Baldwin dazzled with a last second jumper to win the game for the Bulldogs.
Butler entered the game as clear favorites but after the first half, one could not be so sure. The Bulldogs shot a terrible 31% from the field in the first half and an even worse 15% from behind the arc. The shooting troubles were not reconciled by the fact that defenders continued to leave open shooters on the wings to help defend the pick and roll combo of Bryant McIntosh and Sanjay Lumpkin. While the Dawgs held the pair to only 22 points, the Wildcats’ Vic Law Jr. exploded from downtown shooting 5-6 and scoring 17 points in the contest.
The game was tied at 68 with a late comeback by the Bulldogs when the freshman point guard Kamar Baldwin hit an impressive mid-range jumper to put the Dawgs up two with a half of a second left. In a last-ditch effort to tie the game, Northwestern attempted to lob the ball up to the opposite rim for a tip in. The ball was promptly picked off by none other than Baldwin of course who was then mobbed by his teammates at center court.
Despite the thrilling victory, the game was a stark reminder to the team as well as the attendance of Hinkle Fieldhouse that this Butler team is not unstoppable. A bad shooting night can endanger even the victories that appear the easiest. We saw that with last week’s game against University of Northern Colorado where the Bulldogs held a skimpy 10 point lead at the half. We saw that tonight when the outcome of the game was in question until the final buzzer.
Butler won this game because of a last second shot. But it could have been the other way around. The Bulldogs need to realize that outside shooting and bad shot selection on the interior will not win them games against even the most mediocre of opponents. For a program with big aspirations come March, a nail biting win against Northwestern is not satisfying.
But in the end this is a growing team. They are now 2-0. Kamar Baldwin has the national spotlight for the first time in his collegiate career. The Bulldogs are learning to play while in foul trouble. These are all things that will benefit this team come the Spring.
The star of tonight’s game was, despite Kelan Martin’s 22 points, Kamar Baldwin. With three steals, three assists and 11 points, including the game winner, the freshman point guard stole the show. In the future look for Baldwin’s role within the team to expand. While he is still young and inexperienced, his great defensive play as well as his consistent shooting looks to be a staple for the Bulldogs so far this year. While I can’t see him replacing redshirt Senior Tyler Lewis in the starting line-up quite yet, but if he keeps up this quality of play, I don’t see how he could be kept from seeing the floor more.