After losing its BIG EAST opener at home, Butler’s back was against the wall coming into Saturday’s game against Creighton; the Bulldogs played like it. LaVall Jordan mixed up the starting lineup and Butler played with a sense of urgency for all 40 minutes, ultimately prevailing 84-69. Butler and Creighton are both 1-1 in conference play following this one.
Coach Jordan seemed to be looking for defense after a poor defensive performance against Georgetown last week. Henry Baddley and Joey Brunk got their first starts of the season and Butler made life difficult for the Bluejays’ offense early; Almost 10 minutes of game time had passed before Creighton scored its tenth point.
The usually efficient Creighton offense struggled to make shots and failed to take care of the ball. For Butler, Kamar Baldwin led the offensive charge in the first half, scoring 18 points. Five different Bulldogs sank at least one three-pointer in the first period and Butler led 48-29 at the break.
The second half was pretty even between the two teams. Creighton made some mini-runs, one of which was spurred by hot shooting from Mitch Ballock, but Butler was able to stop the bleeding quickly each time. Baldwin continued to dominate and Joey Brunk also had a big second half. Creighton actually outscored Butler in the second half, but never threatened to erase the deficit.
Baldwin finished with 28 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and just one turnover. Brunk and Nate Fowler, who came off the bench for the first time this season, combined for 24 points. Martin Krampelj led Creighton with 16 points and eight boards.
Butler next plays Seton Hall on Wednesday, January 9 @ 8:30 p.m. ET.
Creighton next plays Marquette on Wednesday, January 9 @ 7:00 p.m. ET.
Butler needs that Kamar Baldwin
Baldwin had his best game of the season against Creighton, filling up the stat sheet while taking care of the ball and shooting efficiently. A lot of guys played well for the Bulldogs, but it seemed that every time Creighton threatened to go on a run, Baldwin was the one who responded with a basket. He played calm and under control and took what the defense gave him. The Bulldogs’ ceiling will always be high when Baldwin is on the roster; they need him to play like this more often than not if they are to achieve their goals.
Growing pains for Ty-Shon Alexander
As the clock winded down on this one, Greg McDermott took Ty-Shon Alexander aside, put his arm around him, and gave what looked like a few encouraging words to the sophomore guard. Alexander has been a star for Creighton this season, but Saturday was not his day. He shot just 1-10 from three and scored only nine points. Alexander, like many young stars, will learn how to contribute in other ways when his shot’s not falling.