INDIANAPOLIS — Kamar Baldwin may be a freshman playing in his second collegiate game, but Butler coach Chris Holtmann had enough confidence in his point guard to call his number on the final play.
And Baldwin delivered. Baldwin’s pull-up jumper with 0.4 seconds left lifted Butler to a 70-68 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday night.
"We got the (defensive) switch we wanted," Holtmann said. "We wanted to make sure we got the very last shot on goal. He’s one of our guys that can create his own shot."
The freshman set up his game-winning basket on the defensive end the previous possession, stealing the ball from Bryant McIntosh with 30 seconds left.
"Since they switched it, we had the matchup and made the play," Baldwin said.
Baldwin finished with 11 points and made a big impression in the first half, scoring seven. He also had three steals, three assists and a blocked shot.
Kelan Martin led the Bulldogs (2-0) with 22 points, 15 in the second half. Andrew Chrabascz added 13 points and led the Bulldogs with seven rebounds.
Vic Law topped four players in double figures for Northwestern with 17 points, making 5 of 6 3-point attempts. McIntosh had 12 points, and Scottie Lindsey and Sanjay Lumpkin each scored 10.
Northwestern shot 48 percent from the field compared with Butler’s 38. But the Wildcats made only one more field goal and turned the ball over 16 times to Butler’s eight.
"This one hurts, no questions about it," said Northwestern coach Chris Collins. "When it came time to make the plays you do to win the game, they made them."
Northwestern: Finally playing a major college program after wins over Mississippi Valley State and Eastern Washington, the Wildcats looked poised to win, but blew a 6-point lead with 5:51 left.
Butler: After a comfortable win over Northern Colorado in the opener, the Bulldogs saw a five-point, second-half lead go to waste thanks to a 10-0 Wildcat run. Butler showed mettle, trailing 68-67 with 1:03 left before Chrabascz’s free throw with 53 seconds remaining tied it at 68.
Northwestern’s Gavin Skelly finished below his season average with four points. But he played 22 minutes despite being the 10th man in the rotation, tallying four rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. Skelly hit a 3-pointer as part of a 10-0 second-half run and his free throw put the Wildcats up 68-67 with 1:03 left.
Post players Chrabascz and Northwestern’s Dererk Pardon (eight points, four rebounds) played even most of the game, but Chrabascz came through when it counted. Chrabascz hit a 3-pointer to stop the 10-0 Northwestern run and gave Butler the lead with a layup with 2:29 left. Pardon was in foul trouble most of the second half and fouled out with 1:51 to go and the game tied 65-65.
Butler: Hosts Bucknell on Saturday. The Bison lost to Wake Forest 94-74 on Saturday.