Down by double digits to Ohio State, Butler showed no letup and won the exciting game over the Buckeyes in overtime 67-66. It was a thriller down to the final seconds when Kelan Martin hit a layup with 3.8 seconds left to give Butler the one point lead which ended up being the game-winning bucket.
“We just stayed poised in the moment,” Martin said about keeping cool down the stretch and into OT. “We were down 15 with five minutes left and then we just started pressing and we came up with a couple steals and we got a couple stops. Then we had good looks on the offensive end.”
First Half Summary
The opening half was not what you expected from two great scoring teams from the Big East and Big Ten. Ohio State narrowly edged out the Bulldogs 24-21 in a defensive-driven first half. The Buckeyes made the first basket of the game, just over one minute into the action. They opened to an 11-3 scoring run over Butler, who fought back tying it at 20-20 with the half winding down. Butler even took the lead with 1:17 left when Christan David knocked down his second free throw attempt making it a small 21-20 Bulldogs lead. Ohio State would close out the half on a 4-0 run in the final 60 seconds, to give them the advantage at the break.
Second Half Summary
The second half of action was a completely different tale of the two teams, with more scoring and less defense in the final 20 minutes. Butler this time won the tip and scored the first points with a Kamar Baldwin layup. The Bulldogs and Buckeyes would exchange baskets for the first minute, with an even 4-4 run for each side. After that point, Ohio State started to pull away and extend their lead to double-digits at 54-39. Butler was driven to make a comeback and knew they had the personnel to do so, closing out the half on a 20-5 scoring run. They tied the game when Kamar Baldwin knocked down a three-point bomb with only 15 seconds left at 59-59. Butler even had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but Baldwin missed the three.
It’s not too often we have to break down an overtime, but since Butler had to overcome such a large lead, it took an extra 5 minutes to decide a winner. The two teams stayed very close through the final minutes, with the largest lead from either side only being 3. The final sixty seconds were stressful for the Bulldogs when Ohio State hit two free throws to take the 66-65 lead over Butler. Each side missed their next basket, then the incredible happened. Kelan Martin knocked down a prayer jumper with 3 seconds to go, giving Butler a very late 67-66 lead. Ohio State missed their last-second three-pointer from near halfcourt, and the Bulldogs held on for the incredible win.
“We continued to fight; we believed in each other. That’s a great win for us,” said Butler LaVall Jordan. “Leaving here with two wins under your belt, especially having to fight for one like that, you have to be proud of that.”
Top Individual Performances
Kelan Martin: 24 points (9/22 FG, 2/12 3P, 4/4 FT), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals, 43 minutes
Kamar Baldwin: 14 points (6/19 FG, 2/9 3P, 0/2 FT), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 38 minutes
Paul Jorgensen: 10 points (3/10 FG, 2/7 3P, 2/2 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 38 minutes
The shooting from Butler and Ohio State was not what you expected with abysmal percentages and the Bulldogs gaining the slight edge. Butler shot 25-69 (36.2%) on field goals, 6-31 (19.4%) on three-pointers, and 11-20 (55.0%) on free throws. The Buckeyes were slightly worse, shooting 24-52 (46.2%) on field goals, 5-15 (33.3%) on three-pointers, and 13-18 (72.2%) from the charity stripe.
Everywhere else on the scoreboard, Butler was slightly outrebounded 41-37 with 14 offensive and 23 defensive rebounds. Additionally, the Bulldogs dished out 8 assists, stole the ball 11 times, rejected 2 shots, while only committing 14 turnovers. The defensive playmaking was key to their success, racking up the steals and blocked shots. The turnover battle was something worth noting. Butler only made 14 mistakes, but they forced Ohio State into 24. The difference in turnovers was definitely something unique you don’t see every game. Especially in a close game like this one.
Butler will have quite some time off, playing the Saint Louis Billikens on Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern. You can catch that game on Fox Sports 1, depending on what region you are in.