INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Down by 16 points at the break, the No. 13 Butler Bulldogs got an earful from coach Chris Holtmann.
”At halftime, coach came in, he was very upset with our play defensively and offensively,” forward Kelan Martin said.
After a pair of free throws early in the second half put them down by 18, the Bulldogs rallied. Kelan Martin wound up with 22 points as they surged to beat Marquette 88-80 Monday.
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”Whew,” Holtmann said. ”What an interesting game – a roller coaster in a lot of ways.”
A familiar one, in fact.
On Nov. 23, 2011, Butler trailed by 15 at halftime before overcoming Gardner-Webb. The coach for Gardner-Webb on that trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse? Yep, Chris Holtmann.
The Bulldogs (16-3, 5-2 Big East) quickly overtook Marquette (12-6, 3-3) with a 38-18 burst, with Martin’s jumper giving them their first lead of the game.
Marquette regained the lead one final time with about five minutes remaining, but Martin’s shot started a 7-0 run that put Butler ahead for good.
The Bulldogs outscored Marquette 63-39 in the second half, shooting an astounding 70 percent without a single turnover.
Kamar Baldwin had 18 points and Martin added seven rebounds as the Bulldogs won their 14th in a row at home.
Markus Howard scored 26 points for the Golden Eagles.
”Obviously, I got to do a lot better job. I take full responsibility for anything that happens with our team,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said.
”At times when teams have made a run on us in the second half where we have had leads, our answer is always `call my play and I’ll bail us out with the basket,”’ he said. ”Butler’s answer to adversity tonight was to play better defense. The way they answer adversity is the way you win. The way we try to answer adversity is the way you lose.”
The Bulldogs face DePaul and Seton Hall on the road before returning home to welcome Georgetown and No. 7 Creighton.
After losing to Creighton on Jan. 11, the Bulldogs bounced back with a win over No. 22 Xavier on Saturday, then rallied to top Marquette.