No. 17 Butler relies on strong defense to stifle Purdue

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – DECEMBER 21: Bryce Golden #33 of the Butler Bulldogs shoots the ball while defended by Trevion Williams #50 of the Purdue Boilermakers during the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 21, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bryce Golden scored 14 points and No. 17 Butler used relentless defense to pull away from Purdue 70-61 on Saturday in the second game of the Crossroads Classic.

The Bulldogs (11-1) have won two straight since losing at No. 11 Baylor.

Trevion Williams led Purdue (7-5) with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Boilermakers have lost two of their last three games and two straight in the event that brings Indiana's four best-known programs to Indianapolis for a December doubleheader.

Indiana beat Notre Dame 62-60 in the opener,

But with two of the nation's best scoring defenses on the floor, it was a real grind.

Butler finally tied it at 19 on Christian David's dunk with 6:15 left in the first half, then pulled out to a 26-21 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs then opened the second half on a 14-5 spurt to make it 40-26 and they never trailed again.

Purdue did manage to make one late run with Williams' 5-foot jumper capping a 15-3 spurt that got the Boilermakers to 60-55 with 2:04 to go.

They cut the deficit to four with 55.6 seconds, but the Bulldogs sealed the win from the free-throw line.

BIG PICTURE

Butler: Defensively, these Bulldogs really have some bite. They've already held six teams to fewer than 55 points and probably would have made it seven if not for the continual parade to the free-throw line over the last 10 minutes. If they continue to play this well in Big East play, there's no ceiling for Butler.

Purdue: The Boilermakers' offense has struggled mightily over the past few weeks and it happened again Saturday. Purdue actually shot better from 3-point range (3 of 9) than it did inside the arc (3 of 19) in the first half. Yes, they're gritty but they need to find more consistent scoring options before conference play begins.

STAT SHEET

Butler: The victory margin was the school's largest in the nine-year history of the Classic. ... The Bulldogs are 12-5 all-time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. ... Aaron Thompson and Jordan Tucker each scored 12 points. Thompson also had six assists. ... Sean McDermott finished with 11 points and five rebounds. ... Butler was 7 of 19 on 3s and 21 of 32 from the free-throw line.

Purdue: Aaron Wheeler had 11 points and Eric Hunter Jr. had 10. Both fouled out in the closing minutes. ... The Boilermakers shot 33.3% from the field and wound up 9 of 20 on 3s. ... Purdue only made one more 2-pointer (10) than it did from beyond the arc. ... Williams also had four steals.

UP NEXT

Butler closes out its non-conference schedule Dec. 28 at home against Louisiana Monroe.

Purdue plays its first home game in nearly three weeks against Central Michigan on Dec. 28.

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