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Baylor Basketball

Big-game Butler proving to be one of Baylor's best in the clutch

March 11, 2019

One of the best freshman performances in Baylor basketball history came in the regular season finale 78-70 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse as Jared Butler once again showed Baylor fans his incredible ability to step up against the best teams on the schedule.

© Raymond Carlin III -USA TODAY Sports
Butler scored 15 points with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in Baylor’s thrilling victory over Texas.

A first-year player from Riverside Academy in Reserve, La., the 6-foot-3, 185-pound point guard poured in a career-high 31 points in the contest, a high-water mark for a Baylor player against Kansas. The most recent comparison in perfomance came in 2013 when Pierre Jackson scored 28 in a contest at the Ferrell Center. 

Not only did Butler put up one of the best overall performances of a freshman in school history, he also stacked himself above non-freshman in performances against the Jayhawks. Heading into this game, the Bears were 5-31 all-time against the Jayhawks, and elite individual performances have come few and far between regardless of location. 

Butler’s 31 road points were more than Brady Heslip’s 19 points in 2014 and Lace Dunn’s 27 in 2010. Butler added 6 rebounds and 3 assists to his 31 points, while shooting 10-21 from the field and making 8 of his 10 free throw attempts.

Butler finished the regular season of his freshman season averaging 10.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists on the season and played in each of Baylor’s 31 games.

It was his performances against the toughest teams on Baylor’s schedule, however, that deserve the headlines. In seven games against ranked opponents, Butler took his play to a different level. The freshman averaged 15.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per games. 

Refining the criteria further, in six starts against ranked opponents on the season, Butler averaged 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. In 31 games, Butler connected on 36.7% of his three-point attempts. In six starts against ranked opponents, Butler hit on a red-hot 47.7% from beyond the arc. 

While Butler’s performance against Kansas was an eye-opening performance for the casual observer, the Bears simply could not find their groove. With 31 of the team’s 70 points, Butler accounted for 44% of the team’s scoring against Kansas.

The Bears shot just 36% by making 24 of their 67 shots. Outside of Butler, the Bears only shot 30%, making 14 of their 46 shots. After missing their first 10 attempts, the team finished the day by connecting on just 6 of their 31 three-point attempts,

The Bears struggled at the free throw line on both sides of the ball once again, shooting 66% on 24 attempts while allowing Kansas 30 attempts. Sending the Jayhawks to the line for 30 attempts gives the team an uphill battle to climb especially on the road when the team is not shooting well. 

The Bears did, however, dominate the offensive boards like they have all season with an 18-12 advantage.

Butler averaged 9.5 points, 4 rebounds and 3.5 assists against Iowa State this season. 

With those stats in mind, the Bears should still be proud of their effort on the road. Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhawks finished the regular season undefeated this season, is without a doubt one of the toughest places to play in the country. With no Makai Mason, the Bears still managed to have one of their best individual performances in school history and stayed within striking distance the majority of the contest.

With the loss, Baylor is locked in as the four seed in the Big 12 with a 10-8 record and will play the five seed, Iowa State, on Thursday in Kansas City. 

The Cyclones have lost 5 of their last 6 games since taking down Kansas State on February 16th. Baylor swept the season series 2-0 with their 73-70 win on January 8th and 73-69 win on February 19th. Needless to say, if the game is anything like their previous matchups this season, fans should be in for a showdown here in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. 

In his lone start against Iowa State in Ames, Butler scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from deep, collected 6 rebounds and dished 5 assists.

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Big-game Butler proving to be one of Baylor's best in the clutch

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