Nassau (Bahamas) - The magic is still in The Butler Way.
For the 2nd time in two years, Butler (4-0) defeated #5 North Carolina (3-1) in a non-conference tournament. The Bulldogs pulled the upset 77-66 in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Freshman wing Kelan Martin scored 17 points on 5/11 shooting (3/6 3PT) and grabbed 6 rebounds in the win over the Tar Heels.
Senior point guard Alex Barlow, a former walk-on, scored 17 points (6/14 FG) and played great defense against All-American point guard Marcus Paige. He fouled out with a few minutes to go and finished with 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists.
Both teams struggled from the field in their first game in the Bahamas. North Carolina shot 22/57 (38.6%) from the field including 4/16 (25%) from 3 point range, while Butler connected on 22/72 (30.6%) shots including 9/28 (32.1%) from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs more than made up for the missed opportunities on the glass. Led by Kameron Woods (13 rebounds, 8 offensive) the Bulldogs recorded 29 offensive rebounds and 57 total rebounds in the game.
Despite their length, North Carolina tallied just 40 rebounds (14 offensive).
The game started off nip and tuck. The Bulldogs and Tar Heels exchanged blows and missed opportunities in a 1st half that saw a neither team pull away for a substantial lead.
The Tar Heels led 35-32 at the break.
In the 2nd half, Butler finally started to hit a few shots and grabbed the lead in the opening few minutes, led by two Alex Barlow three pointers to start the half.
The Bulldogs would never give the lead up. A 16-4 run during the 2nd half extended the Butler lead to 59-45 and gave the Bulldogs just enough cushion to hang on down the stretch, despite their poor shooting.
Marcus Paige led North Carolina with 18 points on 5/17 shooting (3/10 3PT). he also had 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 rebounds.
The Bulldogs had their best night from the free throw line of the season shooting 21/29 (72.4%) including some key conversions down the stretch.
The leading scorers for both teams were held relatively in check. Kellen Dunham finished 3/17 from the field, scoring 11 points, while Kennedy Meeks scored just 7 points on 2/4 shooting, but did grab 10 rebounds.
It was over when...The final buzzer sounded and Butler had escaped with their upset victory over the #5 Tar Heels.
NOTES: Andrew Chrabascz scored 7 points, grabbed 6 rebounds in 32 minutes...Each team committed 19 turnovers...Tyler Wideman scored 4 points, had 4 rebounds in 8 minutes...Butler plays Oklahoma in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis after the Sooners took down #22 UCLA.