Butler overcomes halftime deficit to take down rival and number 15 Xavier in front of a sold out Hinkle crowd. The Bulldogs are now 15-3 and still undefeated at home.
Down 6 at the half, Butler fans were a bit uneasy. The dawgs were once again struggling from the field shooting 36% in the first half and only 25% from three. Freshman star Kamar Baldwin was held scoreless. Butler stars Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman didn’t even start the game: instead shooter Avery Woodson started at the 3 and Sophomore big man Nate Fowler started at center.
Right out of the half, Butler came back to tie the ballgame and eventually pulled ahead on Kamar Baldwin’s 21 second half points. Yes, you read that correctly. Butler also shot 29-32 from the freethrow line in the second half. Yes, you also read that correctly. The’s Dawgs’ 58 second half points propelled them to yet another home victory and another victory against a ranked opponent.
Baldwin finished with 21 points (a career high), 9 rebounds, and two steals. He was perfect from the charity stripe (8-8).
Coming off the bench, Kelan Martin played well. He scored in both of his first two plays of the game, giving the Bulldogs a much needed offensive boost. Martin finished with 13 points.
Butler’s other star, senior Andrew Chrabascz, finished with 16 points, three rebounds and two assists. He racked up his points in his usual way, twisting and spinning through defenders in the post for easy lay-ins.
Xavier’s guards tore up Butler’s defense. Their relatively small starting lineup was in no way an offensive disadvantage, with each of their four starting guards reaching double digits.
J.P. Macura lit up the Dawgs with four threes and sixteen total points in the contest.
Senior guard Malcolm Bernard finished with a near triple double of 10 points and eight rebounds.
Most impressively, Sophomore Xavier guard Edmond Sumner finished with a game-high 22 points, getting to the rim whenever he wanted and shooting 12-13 from the line. He also had a game high three assists.
In the end, free throw shooting won the contest for the Bulldogs. Butler went 33-38 from the stripe and Xavier wasn’t too far behind, shooting 28-39. This was by far the most free throws the Dawgs have shot in a game this season, and one of their best performances from the line, finishing at 87%.
After handing Xavier their second straight loss, Butler has a quick turn around, taking on Marquette at home on Monday for an MLK day matchup.
Photo Credit: Jimmy Lafakis on twitter