Kethan Savage scored five of his 13 points during a decisive seven-point run to give No. 18
Butler (13-2, 2-1
Jalen Brunson had 23 points and Josh Hart scored 13 on a rugged shooting night for the defending national champion Wildcats (14-1, 2-1).
"We beat an unbelievable program and an unbelievable team," Butler Coach Chris Holtmann said. "Our kids performed at a high level."
The Bulldogs took the lead for good when Savage scored on a layup with 2 minutes 57 seconds left to make it 53-52. After Kelan Martin's basket, Savage turned a steal into a three-point play for a 58-52 lead with 1:46 to go.