After going scoreless for over 30 minutes, Butler sophomore Kelan Martin came alive with just over eight minutes left in a first-round contest against Texas Tech, scoring 11 points to lift the Bulldogs to a 71-61 victory. Martin's emergence proved to be the final spark for the Bulldogs, kicking things off by knocking down a pair of three's and hammering a dunk home all in the span of about 50 seconds.
The Bulldogs closed the game out on a 9-3 run (with those three points for the Red Raiders coming on a last-second chuck as the clock expired), and it was senior Kellen Dunham that deserves the credit for keeping his team afloat before the final stretch. A Big East honorable mention after finishing on the First Team his junior year, Dunham finished with 23 points, including five of his nine attempts from three-point territory. His partner-in-crime, fellow senior Roosevelt Jones, had an offensive game to forget about with just four points on 1-of-8 shooting, but still filled up the stat sheet in the way only he can, adding eight rebounds and six assists.
Sophomore forward Tyler Wideman, reliably understated, posted 14 points and seven rebounds, hitting all six of his attempts on the day. For Wideman, however, his impact was felt in ways that don't always stand out on the box score, adding one steal but seemingly contesting just about everything in his path all game. Jones, Martin and Dunham each added two steals of their own, making things tough on the Texas Tech backcourt, especially over the game's final stretch.
Toddrick Gotcher, who led the Red Raiders with 11.1 points per game this season, had a rough go after a promising start, finishing with just five points and one assist. The Texas Tech scoring attack was paced by bench guard Devaugntah Williams, leading the team with 18 points in his final contest in a Red Raiders uniform.
Overall, it was a strong offensive performance for the Bulldogs, who shot 49 percent from the field and a whopping 53 percent from three-point range. The Red Raiders struggled a bit to get to the free throw line, and it was even worse once they did get there, hitting just four of their nine attempts. Butler, on the other hand, got there sixteen times total, hitting 12 of their gimme's.
For the second straight year, the ninth-seeded Bulldogs will advance to the round of 32, taking on the winner of No. 1 Virginia and No. 16 Hampton on Saturday. Stay tuned.