EditorsNote: updates second graf with Tuesday matchups
Kamar Baldwin and Bryce Golden scored 13 points apiece and Bryce Nze grabbed a game-high seven rebounds to guide Butler to a 63-52 victory against Missouri in a Hall of Fame Classic semifinal on Monday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Butler remained unbeaten at 6-0 and advanced to Tuesday’s tournament championship, where it will meet Stanford. Missouri (4-2) will oppose Oklahoma in the consolation game.
The Bulldogs shot 23-for-48 (47.9 percent) compared to 22-for-46 (47.8 percent) for the Tigers, who entered play with a stout field-goal-percentage defense of 34.1 percent.
Missouri opened the second half by hitting eight of its first 13 shots, but could only manage to cut two points from Butler’s 12-point halftime edge. Dru Smith led the Tigers with 19 points, and scored seven in a row midway through the second half.
Xavier Pinson had 10 points and three assists for the Tigers, while Sean McDermott gave Butler a third double-figure scorer, contributing 10 points.
Butler led by as many as 15 in the second half while outrebounding Missouri 29-20. The Bulldogs snagged five offensive rebounds in the second half.
Kobe Brown hit a 3-pointer on the game’s first possession to give Missouri a short-lived lead that proved to be its lone advantage of the night. Butler responded with a 15-0 run over the next 4:46 and stretched its lead to 18 points after Christian David scored a second-chance layup to put the Bulldogs on top by 25-7 with 12:07 remaining until halftime.
Strong shooting and ball movement helped Butler take early control and extend the lead after Missouri trimmed the deficit to nine with 6:26 left in the first half. The Bulldogs took a 38-26 lead into the break behind 14-for-23 (60.9 percent) shooting, including a 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) effort from beyond the arc.
The 38 points allowed marked the most the Tigers have yielded in a half this season.
Butler improved to 4-3 all-time against Missouri while snapping a three-game series losing streak.
—Field Level Media