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No. 18 Bulldogs hold off pesky Volunteers 94-86


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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Reserve Kelan Martin had 25 points and 11 rebounds and No. 18 Butler outlasted Tennessee 94-86.

Martin all of Butler's points during a 13-4 run in the second half that kept Tennessee at a distance and sealed the win for the Bulldogs (8-1).

The Volunteers (4-4) started the game shooting 60 percent from the field and led by as many as 10 points with 9 minutes remaining in the first half. But the Bulldogs chipped away at the lead, then an 11-2 run put them ahead.

Despite scoring 94 points, the Bulldogs endured a rough start on offense, missing their first eight shots from the field on their first four possessions. Kellen Dunham took the brunt of those struggles, going scoreless for the first 12 minutes of the game on 0-for-5 shooting from the field. Dunham, Butler's leading scorer, finished with 12 points.

Tennessee's Kevin Punter scored 17 of his 27 points in the first half.

Butler struggled in the early minutes of the first half because of Tennessee's zone that kept the Bulldogs out of the paint and forced a lot of uncomfortable shots beyond the arc, an area where the Bulldogs usually thrive.

Martin, Wideman and senior Roosevelt Jones cracked the Volunteers' defensive efforts as the three combined for 29 of the Bulldogs' 48 first-half points. Jones and Wideman contributed 10 points each during the first half, driving and scoring in the paint where the Bulldogs outscored Tennessee 18-8 in the first half.

Jones had 21 points and 10 assists, while Wideman added 14 points and six rebounds.

TIP-INS: Tennessee is looking for his first win away from Knoxville,Tennessee, under first-year coach Rick Barnes.

Butler's 94 points will contribute to their No. 3 national ranking of 91 points per game. Saturday's win over Tennessee was the fourth time the Bulldogs have scored more than 90 points this season.

Butler tied a season high Saturday when they made 10 3-pointers. The Bulldogs made 10 3s one other time this season, on Dec. 7, when they defeated VMI 93-66.

MAN OF THE MONTH: Martin led the Bulldogs in scoring for the third time this season.

UP NEXT:

Tennessee hosts Florida Atlantic on Dec. 16.

Butler plays Purdue at the annual Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis on Dec. 19.

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