RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kelan Martin scored all 11 of his points in the final 8 1/2 minutes, including consecutive 3-pointers to break a tie game, helping Butler beat Texas Tech 71-61 in Thursday’s first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Kellen Dunham scored 23 points to lead the Bulldogs (22-10), including a critical 3 of his own with 2:26 left as the Midwest Region’s No. 9 seed pulled away in the final minutes. Butler shot 52 percent after halftime, using some NCAA Tournament experience to rally from an early eight-point deficit and finally push ahead midway through the second half.
Devaugntah Williams scored 18 points to lead the eighth-seeded Red Raiders (19-13), who were making their first tournament appearance since 2007. But Texas Tech made just 2 of 9 shots to close the game as Butler began to take over in the critical moments.
Butler is in the tournament for the eighth time in 10 years, and now has won at least one game in eight of its last nine appearances. And Martin, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, came up with some big shots after what had been a forgettable start.
Martin, the team’s No. 2 scorer at 16.1 points per game, was scoreless and missed all four of his shots when he finally broke free. He first hit a 3-pointer in transition to snap a 48-all tie with 8:22 left. Then, after a miss by Texas Tech, Roosevelt Jones found Martin again for another 3 — a shot that rolled around the inside of the rim at least twice before finally dropping through the net.
And coming out of a timeout, Martin followed with a steal and a breakaway dunk for a personal 8-0 spurt that suddenly had Butler up 56-48 with about 7 minutes left.
Texas Tech never got it back to a one-possession game again, with Dunham burying a 3 with 2:26 left to push the lead to nine and all but seal the win.
Tubby Smith made history in his third season at Texas Tech by becoming only the second coach to take five schools to the NCAAs. The Red Raiders shot 46 percent in this one, but had trouble keeping up with Dunham all afternoon — and Martin during the game-changing sequence.
Butler: Tyler Wideman had 14 points. … Butler had a 34-28 rebounding advantage. … Butler scored 16 points off turnovers, though it had 14 turnovers of its own. … The Bulldogs made 9 of 17 3-pointers.
Texas Tech: Justin Gray and Aaron Ross each scored 10. … The Red Raiders made just 4 of 9 free throws. … Top scorer Toddrick Gotcher (11.1 points) finished with five on 2-for-7 shooting.
Butler advances to Saturday’s second round to play the Hampton-Virginia winner.