The Bulldogs looked rough in the first half. Sluggish even. They were shooting 15 percent from behind the arc and 31 percent as a whole. Kelan Martin and Andrew Chrabascz were a combined 3-14 from the field.
But their defense had only allowed 32 points. And they managed to score 29 points as well. The Bulldogs were by no means out of this game.
And then Kelan Martin happened.
Martin was able to score the first eight points of the second half to put the Dawgs back on top by five.
Northwestern came charging from behind, and the rest of the second half was more of the same back and forth of the first half.
Fast forward to Northwestern up one point with less than a minute to play. Chrabascz makes the second shot from the charity stripe. Tie game.
Northwestern ball. Kamar Baldwin steal. Northwestern timeout. 19.2 seconds to play.
And then Kamar Baldwin happened. With the game-winning jumper to give the Dawgs the win.
Three things we learned
1. Kamar Baldwin is no joke
This freshman proved tonight why he is on this Butler squad. In addition to the buzzer-beating jumper, Baldwin also had nine additional points, three rebounds and three assists. The final play was even drawn up specifically for Kamar, Butler head coach Chris Holtmann said in the postgame press conference. The level of trust that Holtmann and the rest of Butler team has for this freshman is high. And my trust in Kamar Baldwin now may be even higher.
2. Kelan Martin is also still no joke
Martin continues to produce game in and game out for Butler as the team leader. He notched 22 points and four rebounds tonight, including the first eight points of the second half. Even when he’s not hitting the game-winning shot, he still puts in a player of the game performance.
3. The Dawgs can’t pull that off again
I really don’t believe the Bulldogs could pull this performance off again. Both teams tonight looked average, and the ending theatrics was just a culmination of the other 39 minutes of average play. If Butler were to have a performance like this against Villanova or Xavier or Creighton, they would have made them pay for it. Butler needs to work out these kinks before Big East play begins in order to contend later in the season.