A win is a win. The Butler Bulldogs squeezed out a nail-biter against Portland State on Friday, avoiding back-to-back losses in the PK80 Invitational. A Paul Jorgensen 3-pointer with 12:13 left in the first half gave the Bulldogs a lead they would never relinquish, but the VIkings had two chances to win the game in the final seconds.
A Deontae North 3-point shot fell short with three seconds left to play. Then, after Tyler Wideman missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, the Vikings were unable to get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded, giving Butler a 71-69 win.
Wideman’s late free throw miss was one of the few mistakes he made in the game. He finished 9-10 from the field with 18 points and eight rebounds. Paul Jorgensen was also a hero for the Bulldogs, adding 14 points, five assists, and five rebounds. Jorgensen was the only Bulldog to make a three, shooting 4-7 from behind the arc.
Portland State challenged Butler with a barrage of 3-pointers. They shot 12-26 on triples, nine of those makes coming from Bryce Canda and Michael Mayhew.
Turnovers, assists and rebounds were essentially even between the two teams, and the game essentially became a contest between the Vikings’ three-point shooting and the Bulldogs’ inside play. Wideman was aided inside by Kelan Martin. Martin shot poorly from the perimeter again, but connected on seven of eight two-point field goals and added six rebounds.
The Bulldogs made offensive adjustments
Butler’s offense looked quite different and much better than it did against Texas on Thursday. Off-ball movement was a lot better in the halfcourt and Butler prioritized good inside looks, finding Wideman and Fowler in the post and hitting Jorgensen and Martin on slash cuts.
Fatigue may have cost Butler on defense
Butler’s defense was noticeably weaker against the Vikings than it was against the Longhorns. Butler was slow to close out on three-point shooters, and allowed a couple of easy baskets in transition. Fatigue likely played a role in this as the Bulldogs were coming off a strenuous effort on Thursday. The defense will have to improve going forward.
The Bulldogs need to involve Jorgensen more
Jorgensen is a great offensive player. Not only is he an efficient shooter, but he showed an ability to move without the ball and pass effectively on Friday. Jorgensen could help the Dawgs with their offensive struggles if he gets more playing time and more usage while playing.
The Bulldogs next play the winner of Ohio State and Stanford on Sunday, while Portland State will play the loser.