The Bulldogs were desperate for a win after dropping 3 straight games to the top half of the Big East. Kelan Martin wasn't going to let the Bulldogs skid any longer. The Bulldog senior scored a career high 37 points to help Butler rally from a 7 point second half deficit and defeat Marquette 94-83 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Kamar Baldwin scored 19 points, Wideman had 16, and Jorgensen added 10 points and 6 assists.
Kelan Martin's Career Night
It was all about Kelan Martin tonight. Scoring 37 points is impressive all by itself. Kelan scored 37 points and only used 20 possessions to do so. He was 12-17 from the floor, 9-9 from the FT line (3 FTs coming after made baskets), and turned the ball over 0 times. That efficiency is absolutely stunning. On top of all of that he was the game's leading rebounder with 7 boards and also handed out 3 assists. It's going to be a long time before we see another Bulldog post a scoring night like that.
Where Is The Defense?
The offense averaging 91 points per game through Big East play is exciting, but Butler isn't going to get very deep into March if they can't fix the defense. The Bulldogs defense has fallen off a cliff after living off it in the non-conference schedule. The Bulldogs held Georgetown to 1 point per possession on the road to open conference play, but have since given up 1.29, 1.13, 1.29, 1.23, and 1.20 points per possession. Butler's defense was ranked 39th in the country prior to that stretch. Now it's 83rd. I don't have a solution to offer, but the coaching staff is going to have to come up with something.
Shutting Howard Down
Markus Howard couldn't be stopped all game, and he eventually emerged for 14 points, but Kamar Baldwin completely shut him down in the first half. Howard, who scored 52 points on the road earlier this month, didn't record a single positive box score stat in 13 minutes in the first half. He didn't score his first point until 16:54 left in the game. The Butler defense held him to only 10 field goal attempts. The attention he drew opened up the floor and gave opportunities for others. Sam Hauser exploded for 30 points of his own. Containing Howard was a big reason Butler was able to do enough defensively to win this game though.
Playing Under Control
At times this season Butler has allowed an increased tempo to get them out of control. At no point during this game did Butler ever feel out of control on offense. There were relatively few questionable decisions with the basketball and it led to only 3 total turnovers on the evening for the Bulldogs. Shooting 59% from the floor and only coughing it up 3 times is certainly a great way to win a basketball game. The turnover margin has been a strength for Butler all season, and they once again won that battle 10-3.
The grind doesn't stop for the Bulldogs. They head on the road to face Providence on Monday. The Friars are coming off an impressive win over Xavier at home. There are no days off in the Big East.