Senior Kamar Baldwin narrowly missed his career-high, posting 31 points as No. 24 Butler defeated Ole Miss, 67-58, Tuesday night in Oxford, Miss.
Baldwin’s previous career-high was 32 and the 6-1 guard nearly hit that mark by making 11 of his 16 attempts from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range. Nineteen of his points came in the second half.
Butler entered Tuesday’s play as one of just 20 undefeated teams remaining in the country. The Bulldogs are off to their first 8-0 start since the 2016-17 season. Four of those eight wins have come against opponents from power conferences. Ole Miss falls to 5-3.
“Our seniors kept us poised in this one, which is what you have to have on the road,” said Butler coach LaVall Jordan. “We knew it was going to be tough. We knew they would make a run. Obviously, Kamar is playing at a high level, but this is a great team win.”
An 8-2 run by Baldwin alone gave Butler a 50-34 lead before Ole Miss responded with 14 of the next 16 points to pull within 52-48 with 9:11 to play. Butler’s defense then locked down as they were able to extend the lead back to 10 at 58-48 with 7:06 remaining. That key stretch proved to be the breathing room Butler needed.
Butler shot 51 percent from the field, and was able to overcome a season-high 15 turnovers. That was because Butler’s defense clamped down once again, holding another opponent under 60 points (the sixth time that has happened in eight games this season).
Ole Miss was limited to 40-percent shooting. They were led by Breein Tyree’s 20 points.
Butler used an 11-0 run to take an early 22-8 lead. The Bulldogs opened the game by hitting eight of their first 12 attempts from the field, including all four from three-point range. Ole Miss capitalized on eight first-half Butler turnovers to crawl back within, 31-22, at the half.
Bryce Nze had a team-best seven rebounds. Sean McDermott scored nine points, while Nze and Jordan Tucker each added eight.
UP NEXT: The Bulldogs return to Hinkle Fieldhouse to host Florida Saturday at noon. A limited number of tickets are available for the contest, which will be broadcast on FOX. The Gators mark Butler’s third SEC opponent in a four-game stretch.