NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Butler was one of the nation's top teams before Kethan Savage got over his bout with pneumonia. With a healthy Savage now coming off the bench, there is no reason the 11th- ranked Bulldogs can't make a run this season.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Butler was one of the nation's top teams before Kethan Savage got over his bout with pneumonia.
With a healthy Savage now coming off the bench, there is no reason the 11th- ranked Bulldogs can't make a run this season.
Savage had 15 points, 10 rebounds and hit a go-ahead jumper with 4:00 to play as Butler held off Seton Hall 61-54 on Wednesday night after blowing a 13-point second-half lead.
It marked the second straight game that Savage came up big. The guard had a season-best 20 points in helping Butler (18-3, 7-2 Big East) rally from a 20-point deficit to beat DePaul last weekend. He has averaged more than 12 points in league play after averaging 2.3 in non-conference games.
"A thousand times, yes," Butler coach Chris Holtmann said when asked if having Savage healthy is important. "He really helps our team and we really needed that. We knew he was going to struggle with some stuff but he has been good for us."
Savage said he is starting to find a rhythm and he has been outstanding on defense.
"I'm a confident player, I always knew I would find my rhythm," Savage said. "I started the season slow with a couple of injuries, but my teammates and coaches have confidence in me and they told me to be aggressive so I'm just continuing to do that. I going out there and playing and whatever happens, happens."
Andrew Chrabascz added 16 points for the Bulldogs after being shut out in his last game, ending a streak of 105 games in which he had scored.
Kamar Baldwin added 12 points and Kelan Martin had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Butler, which has beaten Seton Hall (13-7, 3-5) five straight times and 7 of 8 since joining the Big East.
Angel Delgado had 12 points and a career-high 22 rebounds in leading the Pirates, who were limited to 28.6 percent shooting from the field.
The 20-plus rebound performance was Delgado's second straight — he had 20 against St. John's last weekend — and made him the first player in league history to have consecutive 20-rebound games in conference play.
"I think he is a terrific player, fantastic " Holtmann said. "I love his motor. I love the emotion he plays with. I think he is an absolute warrior and a low force."
Pirates coach Kevin Willard said he has had dreams of bulldogs chasing him the past few days.
"We're having a hard time understanding how to score on them," he said. "I have to do a better job with that."
Khadeen Carrington added 12 points despite dislocating a finger on his left hand early in the second half in what was the Pirates' first loss at home. Desi Rodriguez also had 12.
Savage's short jumper gave the Bulldogs a 51-49 lead and his 3-pointer at the end of a 9-0 run gave Butler a 58-49 edge that was never threatened.
Seton Hall had a chance to tie game at 51 when Rodriguez had a fast break, but he blew the layup and the Hall never recovered.
Trailing 37-24 with 16:33 to play and with Carrington in the locker room being treated for a finger injury, Seton Hall went on a 10-0 run to get within three points on a three-point play by Rodriguez.
A jumper by Baldwin pushed the lead back to five with 13:14 to play, but the Hall kept coming and eventually took its first lead since the opening seconds at 45-44 on a 3-pointer by Myles Powell with 6:31 to play.
Butler led 26-19 after a horrible shooting first half that was reminiscent of an old tough, defensive-minded Big East game. The Bulldogs only shot 35 percent from the field but they limited Seton Hall to 7 of 33 (21 percent).
Butler: The Bulldogs are tied with No. 1 Villanova for the conference lead at the halfway point of the season. It probably doesn't mean much because there is so much parity in the league.
"Zero reaction," Holtmann said of the standings. "It's a long season. I know you have to ask that but I really could care less at this point. There is a lifetime ahead of us."
Seton Hall: The Pirates are just not deep enough to be a threat, and they struggle when they don't shoot well. Rodriguez, the league's top scorer at 19.6, was a non-factor in the first half after picking up three fouls, the last on a technical.
Butler returns home to play Georgetown on Saturday night.
Seton Hall is at No. 24 Xavier on Feb. 1.
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