They wouldn’t trail again.
Instead, Butler surged to a 25-7 lead with 12:07 left in the first half, thanks to early game offensive fireworks from nearly everyone.
Butler rode their hot start to a 63-52 victory over Mizzou on Monday night as part of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Missouri.
Whether it was Kamar Baldwin hitting layups, hitting threes, the big man Bryce Golden hitting some himself, it was a little bit from everyone for Butler–and it was like that all night long for the Bulldogs.
For perspective, Baldwin was one of Butler’s leading scorers with 13 points (4-12). However, the Bulldogs had a balanced scoring effort, also getting contributions from Golden (13 points), wing Sean McDermott (10 points), big man Bryce Nze (8 points), forward Christian David (8 points), and wing Jordan Tucker (7 points).
However, it was also the defense that stepped up big for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs held Mizzou to just 2-11 (18.2%) from the 3 point arc, and junior guard Mark Smith–who had been averaging 13.6 ppg, was held to just 4 points on 1 for 6 shooting–thanks to the smothering defense of Baldwin and starting point guard Aaron Thompson.
Evansville, Indiana native Dru Smith led the Tigers in scoring with an impressive 19 points (8-13), but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Bulldogs.
Instead, Butler was able to fend off the Tigers down the stretch in the second half–in part because of several second-effort rebounds by Nze–leading ultimately to a double-digit Bulldogs victory.
As a result of the win, Butler jumped to #19 in the KenPom rankings.
The Bulldogs will take on the winner of Stanford-Oklahoma at 9:30 EST (ESPN2/ESPNews) for the Hall of Fame Classic Championship Tuesday night.