By Brent Glasgow
INDIANAPOLIS – Butler let a big lead evaporate late, but the Bulldogs held on for a 76-70 win over Purdue in Saturday’s Crossroads Classic.
Kellen Dunham had 25 points and Khyle Marshall added 18, as Butler led by as many as 16 in the second half before Purdue staged a late rally.
“Kellen and Khyle’s play speaks for itself,” Butler coach Brandon Miller said. “If you look at Kellen’s line, for him to score 25 points and only make two threes is a statement about who he is as a player.”
Dunham shot 8 of 16 from the floor, but took just four 3-pointers as Purdue tried to clamp down on the perimeter.
“They made it pretty difficult on me,” Dunham said. “They tried to limit what direction I was going, forcing me to the baseline and things like that. They did a tremendous job on me. Every shot was hard to make.”
Terone Johnson had nine points as Purdue shot out to a 17-9 lead, but Butler (8-2) came back with a 12-2 run to go ahead 21-19.
Dunham exploded down the stretch to end the first half. The sophomore sharpshooter finished with 16 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field and a perfect 4 of 4 at the foul line, as Butler took a 36-33 lead to halftime.
While Purdue (8-3) shot just 38 percent in the first half, the Boilermakers hit 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Butler made just 1 of 5 from behind the arc, and shot 42 percent overall.
Butler started cold in the second half, as Purdue used a 10-1 spurt to take a 43-37 lead, but Butler answered with a 7-0 run to go back in front.
Dunham had a big 3-pointer that put Butler up 62-53 with four minutes left. The Bulldogs bumped the margin to 16 before missed foul shots and inbounds pass trouble got Purdue within four at 74-70, but time ran out on the comeback bid.
Butler’s defense was the difference as it pushed its lead to double digits and what proved to be an insurmountable deficit for Purdue to make up.
“I do know this, we were good on that end,” Miller said. “We were detail-oriented and doing what we were supposed to do, possession after possession.”
Erik Fromm had 14 points for Butler, while Kameron Woods led the Bulldogs with 12 rebounds.
Johnson paced Purdue with 20 points, followed by Bryson Scott with 13 and A.J. Hammons with 10.
Butler will take the hardwood again next Saturday as it visits Evansville (6-5).