Butler vs. Morehead State: Strong second half carries Bulldogs to 85-69 win

Kamar Baldwin calls a play before starting the offense for Butler. The team is now 9-3 this season after a win against Morehead State on Dec. 19. 

DANA LEE | SPORTS EDITOR | delee1@butler.edu

It took a full 20 minutes for Kelan Martin and company to find an offensive rhythm against Morehead State, but once they did, there was little the opposing team could do to prevent a Butler win on Dec. 19.

The Bulldogs remain perfect at Hinkle and extend their nonconference home record to 42, a stark contrast to young Eagles team still looking for their first road win of the season. The 85-69 win bumps Butler to a 9-3 record with Big East play approaching.

“It was a good win for us,” said head coach LaVall Jordan. “I thought we saw some improvements offensively with our execution, which is something we’ve worked on all week.”

Kelan Martin led with a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds, but only after going 2-for-10 from the field in the first half. The trend stayed true for Paul Jorgensen as well, who was unable to convert any of his five shots into points. Instead, the task of scoring fell on the shoulders of Tyler Wideman, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field and 5-for-6 in free throws for 11 points.

Martin’s first points wouldn’t come until the 5:42 minute mark, when the senior forward pilfered the ball for a three-point play building on Butler’s 13-3 scoring run. It was was of the few scoring runs from either team, as both sides struggled to find a groove.

The Bulldogs shot just 36 percent from the field and 10 percent from the arc in the first half. Defense, however, remained key.

“That’s got to be our identity,” Jordan said. “I think we had a healthy conversation after last game. That’s where we have to hang our hat. That’s where we have to be solid.”

Taking advantage of Butler’s slow start, Morehead stuck around, slowly building up points until they were one off the lead. With less than three minutes left, De’von Cooper released a 3-pointer to potentially give the Eagles a 31-29 lead, but the shot fell short and the half concluded in a 28-33 score.

Coming out of the break, Bulldogs broke the scoring open with seven quick points from Martin, who seemed to rebound after a quiet first half.

“Knowing that I’m a senior leader, knowing that I’m one of the older guys on the team, I just can’t let it affect me,” Martin said.

Jorgensen contributed with 16 of his own points while Wideman finished the night with 15 points. Working with a renewed offense shooting 62 percent from the field, Butler extended their lead by as much as 26.

Despite turning the ball over 14 times compared to Morehead’s 12, Butler reaped the benefits by out-rebounding the Eagles 42 to 24.

After defeating Morehead State, just one more game remains before Big East play opens. Butler will host Western Illinois on Dec. 21. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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