Short-handed and on the verge of suffering a four-game losing streak, Butler instead summoned up its limited resources Friday night and managed to dump Marquette 89-85 in overtime.
“We came together,” Bulldogs senior guard Kamar Baldwin said. “We were going to get the job done. We just continued to play for one another, to fight for each other. That’s what we did.”
It’s what No. 16 Butler will have to continue to do Tuesday night when it visits Georgetown for another Big East Conference battle at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
The Bulldogs (16-4, 4-3) are playing without a starter and a key reserve. Point guard Aaron Thompson was injured on Jan. 21 at Villanova and sat out Friday night, ending a streak of 84 straight starts, and reserve forward Christian David (ACL) is done for the season’s remainder.
Without Thompson and David, Butler was forced to use senior Henry Baddley for 31 minutes, 18 more than he played in its first six conference games. Baddley came up big with 10 points, three steals and excellent defense on Marquette star Markus Howard, who scored 26 but went just 8 of 27 from the field.
“I had to stay ready and be ready to step up,” Baddley said. “If anything happens, I have to be ready. We did a great job of helping off screens. We all did a great job of guarding him.”
The Bulldogs survived a game-long 3-point barrage from the Golden Eagles, who were 16 of 38 from distance. That included a game-tying 3 from Koby McEwen just before time expired in regulation, forcing five extra minutes.
Their task Tuesday night will be pretty clear — find a way to keep the Hoyas’ Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven under wraps. If Butler can keep them in check, it should win. If not, it will have a tough time beating Georgetown.
With the departure of four players in December, the Hoyas took a major hit depth-wise. But McClung, averaging a team-high 16.6 points, has grown into one of the top scoring threats in the Big East. Yurtseven isn’t too far behind him with 16.4 ppg and 9.6 rebounds.
Georgetown (12-8, 2-5) is coming off a 66-57 loss Wednesday night at Xavier, which punished the smaller Hoyas on the glass by grabbing 16 offensive rebounds that led to 20 points.
“Instead of using our speed and quickness to our advantage, we let them use their size to their advantage,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “When you give up 16 offensive rebounds, it’s obvious that they used their size to their advantage.”
McClung finished the game with 19 points but was just 6 of 19 from the field. Yurtseven found early foul trouble and played only 21 minutes, managing only six points and two rebounds.
–Field Level Media