On Tuesday night, the Butler Bulldogs defeated the Stanford Cardinal 68-67 to win the Hall of Fame Classic title in Kansas City thanks to the late game heroics of senior All-Big East guard Kamar Baldwin.
Baldwin scored 17 of Butler’s last 20 points, as he put the Bulldogs on his back offensively–showing that he wasn’t going to lose this game late.
At least not without a fight.
Baldwin finished the evening with 22 points (10 of 18), 5 rebounds, an assist, 2 steals, and a block–winning the Hall of Fame Classic’s MVP honors.
Despite shooting just 6 of 23 (26.1%) from the 3 point shooting arc, Butler managed to score points inside and outrebounded Stanford 31 to 23 total rebounds on the night.
Butler had 4 less turnovers as well.
The Bulldogs also received key contributions from starting big men Bryce Nze (13 points and 8 rebounds) and Bryce Golden (12 points and 5 rebounds), as well as starting point guard Aaron Thompson (9 points and 4 assists).
This one was always very close–even to the final buzzer, with no team leading by more than 9 points and a number of lead changes back and forth.
It’s still early, but it looked like a battle between two March Madness hopefuls.
The Bulldogs got a scare when redshirt senior Sean McDermott tweaked his ankle and was escorted into the locker room in a wheelchair, but he later surprisingly returned to the game–albeit somewhat hindered.
The Bulldogs are now 7-0 and their next game will be at Ole Miss next Tuesday night.
This win should give them a little bit of cushion as the Bulldogs will play: Ole Miss, Florida, Baylor, and Purdue in 4 of their next 5 games.
Butler is currently #20 in the KenPom rankings, and their 2019-20 season is off to a great start.