Seniors take center stage when Arkansas faces Butler

Glen Mclaughlin
March 19, 2018

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. Things could've unraveled after Araknsas' runs, but the Bulldogs kept their composure and grinded out the win. "Everyone on the team understood that we weren't going to keep them to two points".

"The Carolina game taught us a lesson about how hard you've got to go each and every play", Macon said.

"I thought it really helped us throughout this year", he said. "It was all about the next play".

Butler, the No. 10 seed, advanced with a 79-62 win over No. 7 Arkansas on Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's East Region at Little Caesars Arena.

Martin scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and Baldwin added 15 of his 24 points after the break as Butler led wire-to-wire for the final 20 minutes.

Tony Hinkle, for whom the Bulldogs' venerable Arena was changed from Butler Arena to Hinkle Arena, was in his sixth of 41 years coaching Butler when the Bulldogs bested Charles Bassett's Razorbacks, 37-21 on January 2, 1931, at Butler Arena. Although Arkansas wiped out that entire deficit before halftime, Butler took control again early in the second.

Butler is now 11-1 in first-round tournament games dating back to 2001, Jordan's senior season with the Bulldogs.

Arkansas, after trailing by 19 points in the first half, used a 16-0 run to take a 29-27 lead.

The Bulldogs quickly pushed the lead back to double digits in the second. Already holding a 13-2 lead, reserve Paul Jorgensen knocked down a 3-pointer, Kamar Baldwin threw down a dunk and Martin hit another 3-pointer, all within 52 seconds.

"Butler did good tonight by making tough shots, getting rebounds, getting key stops", Barford said.

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Butler winner advances to Sunday's second round in Detroit against Friday's first-round winner between second-seeded Purdue and 15th-seeded California State-Fullerton with that winner advancing to the East Regional semifinal next week in Boston. Butler shoots almost 10 points higher than Arkansas at the line, 77.1 percent to 67.8 percent.

Butler held Arkansas, who shoots over 40 percent from deep as a team, without a single 3-point make for the opening 8:38 of this contest. He had 7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 21 minutes.

"It was a team effort, " he said. "It took all of us out there to shrink the court, and that's what we did", Baldwin said. "So it was a team effort tonight".

Butler outrebounded Arkansas 45-25 and outscored the Razorbacks in the paint 34-22.

The victor of this one will play the victor of the Purdue-Cal State Fullerton game.

"I think that will be a battle of wills". I just didn't think he finished around the basket. "I thought our guys responded". The Southeastern Conference has eight NCAA Tournament qualifiers.

DID YOU KNOW: The only previous meeting between Arkansas and Butler came in 1931, with the Bulldogs winning 37-21.

The victor of Friday's Purdue vs. Cal State-Fullerton plays the Arkansas vs. Butler victor Sunday in Detroit.

Arkansas heads into the offseason and will have some changes on the horizon.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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