Wideman has 18 and Butler beats Portland State 71-69
Martin’s layup put the Bulldogs ahead 69-64 with 2 minutes left, and after Kamar Baldwin added a jumper, it appeared that Butler had the win in hand. But Deontae North’s 3-pointer pulled the Vikings closer at 71-69 with 42 seconds left.
After a timeout, North missed a 3-pointer with 3 seconds to go, and that sealed the victory for the Bulldogs.
North finished with 18 points off the bench for Portland State (4-2).
“I’m just proud of our fight down the stretch,” said first-year Butler coach LaVall Jordan. “We had to be together, we had to stay together. We had to really grit that one out.”
The Vikings had the misfortune of opening the tournament against No. 1 Duke. Portland State played well, but eventually fell to the Blue Devils 99-81. North led the Vikings with 24 points, including 20 in the first half, but fouled out with 8:39 left in the game.
Butler fell to Texas 61-48 on the tournament’s opening day. Baldwin had 15 points to lead the Bulldogs, who trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half but rallied to come within three points late. Martin added 12.
The tournament involves 16 teams playing in two brackets on Thanksgiving, Friday and Sunday, with a break on Saturday. The field also includes No. 4 Michigan State, No. 7 Florida and defending NCAA Tournament champion North Carolina.
Dubbed the PK80, the tournament celebrates Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday.
Portland State and Butler were in the Motion Bracket, playing Friday at the Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers. Teams in the Victory Bracket played at the adjacent Memorial Coliseum.
Butler led by as many as nine points in the first half, going up 28-19 on Martin’s layup with 7:55 left in the half. The Bulldogs led 38-34 at the half.
Bryce Canda’s 3-pointer pulled the Vikings within 40-37 early in the second half, but Butler responded with a 7-1 run. Portland State again closed to within 59-57 on Holland Woods’ layup with 8:14 left and never let the Bulldogs extended their lead to double digits.
“What you saw from our guys tonight is exactly who we are. Scratching, clawing, grinding, trying to get every last bit of it until the very last second to see if we can win the game,” Portland State first-year coach Barret Peery said.
Former Butler coach Chris Holtmann now coaches at Ohio State, which lost 86-59 to Gonzaga on Thursday night. Jordan, an alum, is in his first season as Butler’s coach.
Portland State: The Vikings’ opener against Duke was the first time in program history that the team had faced a top-ranked opponent. Portland State’s last win over a ranked opponent was an 86-82 victory over then-No. 25 Portland in December 2009.
Butler: The Bulldogs shot just 32.8 percent from the floor against Texas (19 of 58). It was the team’s worst offensive output since shooting 23.7 percent against Oklahoma in a 59-46 loss in 2014.
Butler goes on to pay the winner of Friday evening’s game between Ohio State and Stanford. Portland State will play the loser of that game on Sunday.