Butler rides defense to survive hard-charging Arkansas

Butler rides defense to survive hard-charging Arkansas

Butler rides defense to survive hard-charging Arkansas

LaVall Jordan is the fifth Butler coach to be part of the first-round domination along with Thad Matta, Todd Lickliter, Brad Stevens and Chris Holtmann.

It was easier for the Bulldogs to "keep a poise" when they were defending the 3-point line so well. "I think we learned from that and we're ready to go now".

"That 11-1 record is because we've got good players, and they've got a lot of pride in the program", Jordan said. "It was all about the next play".

With 13:42 to play in the first half, following a 3-pointer by Martin, Butler led 21-2 and looked on the brink of blowing Arkansas out of the building. Butler will take on Purdue on Sunday for a chance to go to the Sweet Sixteen for the second straight season. Macon is also the team's most clutch free throw shooter when the Razorbacks, 40-0 over two seasons when leading at the half, lead late. But this did not come without Butler making it interesting, as they blew a 19 point lead in the first half.

The Bulldogs quickly pushed the lead back to double digits in the second.

The Butler guards not only pass it and handle it well but Baldwin and Jorgensen join Martin as 3-point scoring threats.

"We're not just going to the dance", Anderson said Sunday upon announcement of the pairings.

Butler has won at least one game in each of the last four NCAA Tournaments, this one in the team's first season under Jordan. Arkansas shot just 36-percent from the floor (20-56), and only made four out of their 18 attempts for the three-range. He started 17 games and averaged 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Instead, Barford and Macon chose to return to Arkansas and cited the North Carolina loss as a determining factor.

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"It was a team effort". "Now we know what it takes to play to in this environment, on this level".

"We talked about it in pregame, just run them off the line and try to make them make tough twos", Kelan Martin said. "It was just a team effort tonight".

Arlando Cook gave Arkansas its first paint points of the game just before the break. Although the Razorbacks made a nice comeback in the first half, they'd have been in better shape at halftime if they hadn't allowed 10 offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes.

But starting guard Kamar Baldwin and sixth-man guard Paul Jorgensen not only prolific scorers, too, averaging 15.5 and 10.5 points but joining freshman starting guard Aaron Thompson as adept ball-handlers.

"I think we're both probably looking at the first matchup", said Jordan, a former MI assistant and one-year head coach at the University of Milwaukee.

"I think our mentality doesn't change", Jordan said about his team's next opponent. "It just motivates and shows me how close we were to beating the No. 1 team in the country". "I think it's destiny right now". "That's all you can ask". The Southeastern Conference has eight NCAA Tournament qualifiers.

Butler takes on Purdue in an all-Indiana matchup.

The victor faces either No. 2 Purdue or No. 15 Cal State Fullerton on Sunday - Butler would love another shot at big-brother in-state rival Purdue (they played in December).

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