Butler uses large second half to beat Utah 81-69

Butler highlighted their excellent shooting and flowing offense on Tuesday night, which played a large role in their 81-69 win over Utah at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

“I’m really proud of the fight in this group,” said Butler coach LaVall Jordan. “Our seniors are growing every day, and you see these stretches of their leadership when you hear their voices more. Kelan got one to fall early, and then Paul did. It gets contagious. We did a really good job of finding each other tonight and getting good looks.”

First Half Analysis

The opening half of action for the Bulldogs started out fairly even before trailing and then pulling away in the closing minutes. Utah won the jump ball, but it was Butler who came through with a great defensive effort forcing a turnover and Kelan Martin on the other end made a layup to take the 2-0 lead. From there the two sides would exchange baskets tied 13-13 at the 12:09 mark. The Utes from there would break out and take a large 25-17 lead before Butler would take over the game for good. Butler immediately responded to the 12-4 run, with an 11-4 scoring run of their own making it only a one-point game. To close out the half, the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run over the final 2:22 giving them the slight 34-31 edge at halftime.

Second Half Analysis

Butler’s win came from the second half with the same effort they used to close out the first. The Bulldogs opened the final half of play, making the first shot from either side this time coming on a jumper from Aaron Thompson. That would be the start of a great half of basketball for Butler. Right around the 16:48 mark is where the Bulldogs pulled away with a 14-0 scoring run giving Butler the lead at 53-39 with 14:14 still left in the action. The run ultimately sunk the Utes who struggled again down the stretch when Butler used a 10-3 run extending their lead to 81-69, being the final score.

Individual Player Performances

Kelan Martin: 29 points (12/19 FG, 3/8 3PT, 2/2 FT), 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 38 minutes

Tyler Wideman: 18 points (6/7 FG, 6/8 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 30 minutes

Paul Jorgensen: 16 points (5/8 FG, 4/6 3PT, 2/2 FT), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 38 minutes

Kamar Baldwin: 11 points (5/13 FG, 1/5 3PT, 0/1 FT), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 38 minutes

Going Inside the Numbers

Butler shot 30-55 (54.5%) on field goals, 8-20 (40.0%) on three-pointers, and 13-17 (76.5%) from the charity stripe. Butler displayed their shooting touch on offense led by Kelan Martin. Martin poured in a new season-high 29 points on 12/19 shooting really contributing to the Bulldogs overall shooting success.

Additionally, Butler won the rebounding battle with 31 total boards including 5 on offense and 26 on defense. Utah was only able to provide 26 total rebounds with 6 on offense and 20 coming from the defense. Rebounding is a hard stat to gauge game to game, but Butler has found tremendous success lately outrebounding its opponents in two straight games.

Everywhere else on the scoreboard, Butler dished out 11 assists, stole the ball 5 times, rejected 3 shots, and only committed 11 turnovers.

Next Game

Butler will face Youngstown State at home on Saturday at 12:00 PM Eastern.

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Lucas Babcock

Lucas Babcock is the Editor in Chief and Founder of SportZreport.com. Babcock has been with the SportZreport.com Editorial Team since April 2015. Email any questions or comments to Lucas@SportZreport.com

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