Butler Upsets Jalen Brunson, Villanova Behind Kelan Martin's 24 Points

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2017

Butler guard Paul Jorgensen (5) shoots in front of Villanova defenders Phil Booth (5) and Mikal Bridges (25) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast/Associated Press

The Butler Bulldogs handed the top-ranked Villanova Wildcats their first loss of the season, 101-93, on Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Villanova was the second undefeated team to lose Saturday after the TCU Horned Frogs fell 90-89 to the Oklahoma Sooners.

Butler led by as many as 23 points in the second half before the 2016 national champions trimmed the deficit to six points with 1:35 remaining in the game. The Indianapolis Star's Gregg Doyel noted how the Bulldogs were shooting themselves in the foot to aid the Wildcats' comeback:

Butler sank six straight free throws inside the final minute to help seal the victory. It's the first time Villanova allowed 100 points to an opponent since a 101-80 defeat to the Creighton Bluejays on Feb. 16, 2014.

Butler shared a clip of the game's final seconds and the fans' celebration after the final buzzer:

Hot shooting powered Butler to the upset. The Bulldogs shot 60 percent from the floor and made 15 of their 22 attempts from three-point range against what was the ninth-best team in adjusted defense, according to KenPom.com.

Especially in the first half, junior guard Paul Jorgensen symbolized Butler's offensive onslaught. He had 16 points at the half and wasn't afraid to pull up from anywhere inside half court. CBS Sports shared a replay of Jorgensen's three-pointer from about 30 feet with 1:29 left in the half:

Jorgensen finished with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while Kelan Martin led Butler with 24 points. Martin also collected eight rebounds to narrowly miss out on a double-double.

Jalen Brunson was the game's leading scorer, tying a career high with 31 points in a losing effort. The junior guard also displayed his slick ball-handling with a crossover on Butler guard Kamar Baldwin, courtesy of CBS Sports:

Butler reached the NCAA tournament in each of Chris Holtmann's three seasons as head coach. Many expected that streak to end after Holtmann left in June to coach the Ohio State Buckeyes.

However, the Bulldogs are well on track to reach the Big Dance under LaVall Jordan. ESPN's Joe Lunardi projected them as a No. 9 seed in his most recent edition of Bracketology, and beating the best team in the country will be a massive addition to Butler's overall resume.

The Bulldogs can't celebrate Saturday's win for too long, though. They face off with the sixth-ranked Xavier Musketeers on Tuesday before playing the No. 23 Seton Hall Pirates and No. 25 Creighton—all over an eight-day period.

Villanova, on the other hand, will have plenty of time to stew over its first loss. The Wildcats don't return to the court until Jan. 6, when they play the Marquette Golden Eagles.

There's no question Villanova will fall out of the top spot when the new Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Polls are unveiled, but the Wildcats will have ample opportunity to reassert themselves as the best team in college basketball. And they'll have their shot at revenge when they welcome Butler to Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 10

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