Bulldogs Host Taylor In Final Preseason Exhibition

PRESEASON WRAP:  Butler men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens will have one final opportunity to evaluate his team before the regular season begins when Taylor visits Hinkle Fieldhouse for an exhibition contest on Saturday, Nov. 7.  The final preseason game is slated for 2 p.m. (ET).  The Bulldogs, ranked No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today national poll and No. 11 in the Associated Press rankings, passed their first preseason test with a 77-45 victory over DePauw on Sunday, Nov. 1.  Stevens was able to utilize 14 different players in the game, with only freshman center Andrew Smith seeing more than 20 minutes of action.  Ten different Butler players cracked the scoring column in the first exhibition game.  “In the beginning part of the season, we’re looking for opportunities and moments to prove that we are going to get better and that we have the right mind-set to get where we need to go,” Stevens said after the DePauw game.  Butler will be playing Taylor, a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), for the first time ever.          

The Bulldogs open the regular season against Davidson at home on Nov. 14.
     
SOLID START:  The Bulldogs jumped to a 12-0 lead against DePauw and stretched that margin to 21-3 before the visitors scored their first field goal.  That start propelled Butler build a 39-12 halftime lead and eventually a 32-point victory.  Five different players contributed to Butler’s first 12 points and six different Bulldogs were in the scoring column before DePauw’s first field goal.  Butler head coach Brad Stevens was able get 12 different players into the game in the initial 20 minutes, with none playing more than 14 minutes.  Sophomore Shelvin Mack, who scored six points in the first half, wound up leading the Bulldogs in scoring for the game with 13 points, while sophomore Gordon Hayward added 11.

Butler shot .517 (15-29) from the field in the first half against DePauw. 

GUARD CHANGE:  Butler used the same starting lineup in all 32 games last year, while compiling a 26-6 record, a regular season championship in the Horizon League and a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.  That lineup was not on the floor at the start of the DePauw game, despite the fact that head coach Brad Stevens has his entire team back this year.  Junior Shawn Vanzant made his first career start for the Bulldogs, replacing sophomore Ronald Nored, who was sidelined all summer with a stress fracture in his leg.  Vanzant played 18 minutes in the game and finished with four points, two rebounds and two assists.  Nored came off the bench and played 17 minutes.  He posted six points, five rebounds, a team-high five assists and a team-high four steals.  The two point-guards combined to hit four of seven field goal attempts in the game.

Ronald Nored shared the Butler freshman record for games started (32) with Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward last year.        

SHOOTERVILLE:  It shouldn't be surprising that junior Zach Hahn and redshirt freshman Chase Stigall led the Bulldogs with three three-point field goals each against DePauw.  The two long-range shooters, who combined to hit six of seven shots from beyond the three-point arc, both of whom attended New Castle Chrysler High School, a hotbed for shooters.  Hahn, who was third on the team in three-point field goals a year ago, hit a pair of three-pointers in the first half, while Stigall cashed all three of his long-range shots in the second half.  The two follow in the footsteps of a number of outstanding shooters from Chrysler High School who have attended Butler.  Three of the top four players (No. 1 Bruce Horan, No. 3 Darnell Archey and No. 4 Brandon Miller) on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals attended Chrysler High School.  The Bulldogs wound up hitting 10 of 23 (.435) shots from beyond the three-point arc.

Butler was 14-0 in 2008-09 when hitting at least nine three-point field goals. 

BLOCK PARTY:  Sophomore Gordon Hayward had three blocked shots in the first half against DePauw and a game-high four blocked shots for the game, while freshman Andrew Smith came off the bench with three blocked shots.  The two helped Butler to nine total blocked shots for the game.  The Bulldogs averaged 3.2 blocked shots per game a year ago.

NEW FACE:  Center Andrew Smith, the lone first-year player on Butler’s roster, was impressive in his debut with the Bulldogs.  The 6-11 post player came off the bench with 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 21 minutes of action.  Smith had a team-high three offensive rebounds.

PICK-POCKETS:  Five different players contributed to 13 steals for the Bulldogs against DePauw.  Sophomore Ronald Nored led the way with four thefts, while senior Willie Veasley added three.  Sophomores Gordon Hayward, who led the Bulldogs in steals a year ago, and Shelvin Mack and redshirt freshman Chase Stigall each added a pair of steals.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Junior Matt Howard, who led the Bulldogs in scoring and rebounding a year ago while earning Horizon League Player of the Year recognition, had five points and four rebounds in 16 minutes of action against DePauw.  Howard led the Bulldogs last year with 24 double-figures scoring efforts.

•Redshirt freshman Chase Stigall scored nine points in his Butler American debut.  Stigall averaged 11.0 points in four games in Italy this summer, his first Butler action. 

•Sophomore forward Garrett Butcher, who played in all 32 games a year ago, did not play in Butler’s first exhibition game because of illness.  He returned to practice this week and he’ll be available for the Taylor game.

•The Bulldogs limited DePauw to just 27.5% (14-51) shooting for the game, including just 14.8% (4-27) in the first half.  The visiting Tigers shots just 28.6% from the three-point arc, including 16.7% (1-6) in the first half.

•Former Butler basketball player Pete Campbell was selected in the second round of the 2009 NBA Development League Draft by the Sioux Falls Skyforce.  Campbell led the Buldogs in three-point field goal shooting in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

•Butler’s season-opener against Davidson on Nov. 14 will be televised on WHMB-TV (Ch. 40) in central Indiana.  Jim Barbar will handle the play-by-play, while former Bowling Green and Indiana coach Dan Dakich will provide analysis.