Senior Kamar Baldwin willed the 13th-ranked Bulldogs to an 89-85 overtime victory over Marquette Friday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse, scoring 29 of his 31 points after halftime.
With the win, Butler ends a three-game skid and moves to 16-4 overall and 4-3 in BIG EAST play. Marquette, which entered the contest on a three-game winning streak, falls to 14-6 (4-4 BIG EAST).
With 2:36 remaining in regulation, Markus Howard gave Marquette a 68-62 lead. The basket – his 26th point of the night – would be his last points of the contest. The next nine points all came from Baldwin as a pair of free throws with eight seconds remaining gave Butler a 71-68 lead. Coach LaVall Jordan wanted his team to foul, but the Bulldogs did not execute the coach’s strategy as Koby McEwen made a three-pointer in the closing seconds to force overtime.
In overtime, the Bulldogs built a seven-point advantage (83-76) with 45 seconds remaining as Baldwin scored another nine points in the opening minutes of the extra session. Back-to-back Marquette three-pointers trimmed the lead to only one before Butler made five free throws down the stretch and forced misses on Marquette’s final three attempts from the field.
Baldwin’s 31 points tie his season-high and are one shy of his career-best total. He went 11-of-13 from the free throw line, and added eight rebounds and five assists. He played 42 minutes as Aaron Thompson was held out of the contest with a wrist injury sustained Tuesday night at Villanova. Thompson had started 84 consecutive games. With the junior out, Baldwin took over the lead guard role and spent a majority of the evening chasing Howard, who entered as the nation’s leading scorer, around Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Senior Sean McDermott and Henry Baddley had 16 and 10 points, respectively. Baddley played a season-high 31 minutes as Butler was without both Thompson and Christian David, who tore an ACL Tuesday. Baddley added three steals.
Butler made 27 of its 31 attempts from the free throw line Friday night, which helped to withstand 16 made three-pointers from Marquette. The visiting Golden Eagles needed 38 attempts to get to that total, however.
Sacar Anim supplemented Howard’s 26 points with 22 of his own. McEwen had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Theo John blocked seven shots.
Butler shot 44 percent for the game.