November 23, 2018 / 4:50 AM / 3 months ago

Butler blasts Middle Tennessee in Bahamas

Paul Jorgensen and Sean McDermott each scored 21 points Thursday night as Butler blitzed Middle Tennessee with a barrage of 3-pointers in an 84-53 consolation-round rout at the Battle 4 Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Bulldogs (4-1) meet Florida for fifth place on Friday, just after the Blue Raiders (3-3) oppose Stanford for seventh place.

Kamar Baldwin added 18 and Henry Baddley tallied 10 for the Bulldogs, who made 16 of 35 from the 3-point arc and shot 51.7 percent for the game, including 60 percent in the second half. Butler also enjoyed a 28-10 advantage in points off turnovers, forcing 20 giveaways from the Blue Raiders.

James Hawthorne scored 11 points to pace Middle Tennessee, which led early in the first half for 84 seconds before the Bulldogs started bombing away from the arc. The Blue Raiders made only 32.1 percent from the floor on the night and only managed six assists. By contrast, Butler drew 22 assists on 31 made field goals.

The first big run for the Bulldogs came in the first half, when they rattled off nine consecutive points in a 1:41 span. Baldwin capped it with a transition layup that made it 19-7 at the 11:46 mark.

Middle Tennessee drew within seven moments later, but McDermott drained a 3-pointer that restored a double-figure lead. That was where the advantage stayed for the game’s final 30:05 as Butler controlled action at both ends of the floor.

Baldwin sank a 3-pointer with 7:03 remaining in the half to make the lead 32-14, the largest to that point. The Bulldogs settled for a 44-27 margin at the break as McDermott drilled one of his seven 3-pointers with 20 seconds remaining.

The lead reached 20 only 75 seconds into the second half as Baldwin converted a foul shot. Things never got any better for the Blue Raiders, as they couldn’t run Butler off the 3-point arc or figure out a way to create good shots against its sticky defense.

Jorgensen’s 3-pointer with 11:57 left upped the margin to 67-35, and the game’s remainder was a race to the final horn.

—Field Level Media

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