The Butler Bulldogs nearly did it again. Down by as many as 18 in the second half, the Dawgs fought back in Omaha to cut the Creighton lead to six with 3:55 and 2:21 to go. It ended up being too little, too late as the Bulldogs dropped this one to #25 Creighton 85-74.
A Tale of Two Stars
Butler’s Kelan Martin and Creighton’s Marcus Foster were their teams’ leading scorers coming into tonight’s matchup. They had very different games. Marcus Foster is a phenomenal basketball player. He himself had two contrasting halves. In the first half, Foster was unstoppable.
He finished the first 20 minutes with 21 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Foster came out for the second half and started dishing out assists. He had six in the second half and didn’t knock down his first shot of the half until 3:04 remaining in the game. It was a very well-rounded game for Foster as he finished with 23 points, two rebounds, and eight assists.
Meanwhile, Kelan Martin was having a much more difficult time putting the ball in the basket. The Bluejays defense did a phenomenal job bottling up Martin who came into this game averaging 25.8 points per game through Butler’s four Big East games this season.
Creighton’s Khyri Thomas created all kinds of problems for Martin through most of the game before Martin started to utilize his four-inch height advantage. With just two points and four turnovers and down 49-32 in the first half, it was clear that the Dawgs needed someone else to step up if they wanted to avoid the blowout.
Next Man Up
With Martin struggling mightily, Kamar Baldwin, Aaron Thompson, and Paul Jorgensen helped key the comeback in the second half. Baldwin was his signature self in this game, creating chances for himself and flying in on both the offensive and defensive glass.
Baldwin finished the game with 15 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. Freshman Aaron Thompson also had a very efficient showing, more than doubling his scoring average for the season. The freshman guard contributed 12 points to 5-of-8 shooting, two rebounds, and three assists. Jorgensen led Butler with 18 points including the bucket that cut the Creighton lead to six with 2:21 remaining.
Digging a Hole
In the first half, Butler’s defense was less than stellar. Creighton was able to dissect the Butler defense, shooting 52.8 percent and assisting on 14 of their 19 made field goals. The Dawgs only managed to force one Creighton turnover as well. Butler came into this game with a +3.2 turnover margin, 38th best in the country.
Butler did fairly well on the offensive end in the first half, shooting 44.8 percent, but the negative turnover margin dug a hole that was simply too deep.
The Bulldogs go back to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a matchup with Marquette on Friday. It will be the Dawgs’ first unranked opponent since their Big East opener on December 27.