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RECAP: Butler runs Creighton out of Hinkle

Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman ride into the sunset on Senior Night

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Butler Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

You always kind of root for seniors to get a win on Senior Night, unless you’re a fan of the visiting team. Butler fans may have preferred another opponent to come in for the final home game of Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman, seeing as Creighton had beaten the ‘Dawgs comfortably three straight times dating back to last year. But don’t worry – things worked out just fine for the seniors, as Butler walloped Creighton 93-70.

Both teams started out slower than usual, and Butler led just 12-10 about eight minutes into the game. Then the Butler bench got going. Butler went on an extended 32-10 run that was highlighted by two threes apiece from Paul Jorgensen and Henry Baddley. Nate Fowler also played some important minutes during the stretch.

With 4:19 remaining in the half, Khyri Thomas threw down a ferocious dunk in traffic. This sparked a quick 8-0 run by the Blue Jays who managed to cut the lead down to 12 before halftime, but when the teams came out for the second half, it was more of the same.

Martin hit a three immediately, Kamar Baldwin followed it up with an easy lay-up, and Creighton never got closer than 13 points after that. Martin had 18 points in the second half and the Bulldogs played tough defense to coast to a 23-point win.

Butler moved into fourth place in conference standings at 9-7 while Creighton dropped to 8-7. Butler now has eight days off until it plays St John’s, while Creighton faces Villanova on Saturday.


Takeaways

Kelan Martin’s career is special

I’m not just saying this because it’s Senior Night and he had a good game. I’m saying it because of the way he played tonight against an opponent that has brought out the worst in him. Khyri Thomas has been a thorn in Kelan’s side for years, and Kelan has often been frustrated and struggled against Creighton. Facing Creighton in a big game and on Senior Night no less, could have presented an opportunity for Kelan to force the issue, play selfishly, and likely struggle. Instead, Martin shared the ball early on and played patiently. He lurked in the background while the bench dominated most of the first half. In the second half, when the defense was lax and Martin saw opportunities, he attacked and scored in bunches.

Martin’s growth and development of the last four years was on full display on Tuesday night. Butler fans have been lucky to have him.

Creighton needs answers – quick

Creighton has likely done enough to gain an NCAA Tournament bid, and if that’s the case, they need answers quick. Its defense and offense were both atrocious against Butler. While this might be considered an anomaly, Creighton was also coming off a 20-point lead to Marquette and now has to square off against Villanova. Greg McDermott needs to find a way to get the high-powered offense going again.

Butler is as good as its defense is

Butler won a very strange game against Villanova where the Bulldogs shot the lights out from three and outscored a Villanova team that scored 93 points! However, Butler’s formula for success this season has typically been simple — defense. When Butler locks up defensively the way it has this last week against Providence and Creighton, the Dawgs are almost unbeatable. Not only does the defense make it frustrating for the other team, it also fuels Butler’s offense. Points off turnovers were huge against Creighton. If Butler can defend in the postseason, watch out!