CONWAY, S.C., November 24, 2019 – With six minutes to play in Sunday’s championship game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational, Baylor guard Jared Butler was struggling through a 5-for-14 shooting performance.
So naturally, with the game and the title on the line, he just kept on shooting. And his persistence paid off.
Butler made three shots in a two-minute span, including a pair of 3-pointers, and finished with 22 points to help Baylor pull away late and defeat Villanova 87-78. That showing combined with his overall performance in three games at Myrtle Beach – 17.7 points and 3.7 assists per game, along with a total of 8 steals – earned Butler the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.
“I was missing a lot of shots that I usually make, and I was struggling with (Villanova’s) length a little bit,” Butler said. “But the last five minutes of the game are the most important. So I really locked in and said I want to win this game.”
Butler’s scoring flurry enabled the Bears to turn a 66-64 deficit into a 74-69 lead, and they never trailed again.
“One thing about Jared Butler, the bigger the moment the better he plays,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “We have quite a few players who don’t shy away from big moments, but Jared really has been able to raise his level down the stretch of games in big situations.”
As crucial as those shots were to Baylor’s victory, Drew said the way Butler performed in the moments afterward was just as important. Namely, Butler did not try to single-handedly take over the game.
“He hit some shots, but he didn’t force shots after that,” Drew said. “You see some players, they’ll hit a few shots and then they’ll take a bad shot. In a game like this, you can’t have a bad possession late in the game. You have to make the right plays and the right decisions, which he did, and that’s a credit to his growth as a young player.”