FRIDAY HOOPS: Butler will begin a
two-game homestand when it hosts Horizon League foe Green Bay on
Friday, Jan. 21. The game, Butler’s third consecutive
Friday night contest, is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) at Hinkle
Fieldhouse and will be televised nationally on ESPNU. The
Bulldogs (13-6, 5-2 Horizon League) are coming off a two-game road
trip that produced an 87-64 victory at Detroit and a 69-64 setback
at Wright State. The two-game split left Butler in a
three-way tie with Cleveland State and Wright State for second
place in the Horizon League, one game behind league-leading
Valparaiso. Prior to the loss at Wright State, the Bulldogs
had won three straight and nine of their previous 10 games.
Green Bay (10-9, 4-3 HL) brings a four-game winning streak to
Hinkle Fieldhouse, including a 74-50 victory over UIC on Saturday
(Jan. 15). The Wisconsin squad, which shares the
league’s longest winning streak with Valparaiso, has won six
of its last eight contests. Butler will close out its
homestand on Sunday (Jan. 23) afternoon with a rematch against
league-foe Milwaukee. That game will start at 2 p.m. (ET) at
Butler is 17-3 in games following a loss under head coach Brad Stevens.
HOME IMPROVEMENT: The Bulldogs improved to 7-1 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season with a victory over Youngstown State on Jan. 9. It was Butler’s fifth straight win at home and the 22nd victory in the last 23 home contests. The Bulldogs, who were 15-0 at home last year, are 51-4 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in four seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.
Butler has beaten 14 straight Horizon League foes at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
SCORING LEADERS: Despite posting their third-lowest point total of the season at Wright State, the Bulldogs continue to lead the Horizon League in team scoring offense. Two nights before the Wright State loss, Butler recorded 87 points in a 23-point victory at Detroit. It was the seventh time this season that the Bulldogs topped 80 points in a game. Only one other Butler team (2007-08) in the past decade has had as many as six 80-point games.
LAST TIME OUT: Guard Shelvin Mack had a three-point field goal attempt to tie the game in the closing seconds bounce around the rim before falling out, and host Wright State closed with a pair of free throws to hand Butler a 69-64 setback on Sunday (Jan. 16). The loss snapped Butler’s three-game winning steak and knocked the Bulldogs out of a share of first place in the Horizon League. The game featured 15 lead changes and was tied 10 times, before the Raiders gained the lead for good on a conventional three-point play by guard N’Gai Evans with under a minute remaining. Butler had a six-point lead in the first half and a five-point lead with under five minutes remaining. Evans, who scored five of Wright State’s final eight points, led all scorers with a career-high 26 points.
WEEKEND SPLIT: Butler’s loss at Wright State came two nights after the Bulldogs handed Detroit its biggest margin of defeat this season, 87-64, in a showdown for first place in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs shot a season-best .569 (29-51), including a season-best .588 (10-17) from beyond the three-point arc, in the win. Butler shot 62% in the second half at Detroit, but managed just 39% shooting in the final 20 minutes at Wright State.
ADDED PUNCH: Sophomore Andrew Smith posted the highest back-to-back scoring performances of his young career on Butler’s two-game road trip last weekend. The 6-11 Butler forward, who began the weekend with five career double-figures scoring performances, finished second on the team in scoring at Detroit with 15 points, and then he led all Bulldogs with another 15 points at Wright State. He hit 12 of 19 (.632) shots in the two games and added six of 11 from the free throw line. Smith has had his top four career scoring performances in Butler’s last seven games.
Andrew Smith is averaging 14.8 points in Butler’s last four games.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Senior Matt Howard hit seven of 10 shots from beyond the three-point arc on Butler’s two-game road trip to Detroit and Wright State. The 6-8 Butler hit a career-best five of six three-point field goal attempts at Detroit, the best three-point shooting performance by a Butler player this season, and then nailed two of four long-range shots at Wright State. Howard, who hit just five three-point field goals in his first three seasons at Butler, currently stands second on the team with 24 three-pointers this season. The Butler scoring leader had a team-high 17 points at Detroit, before adding 12 at Wright State.
Matt Howard leads the Horizon League in 3-point field goal percentage (.490).
FRESH LOOK: Freshman Khyle Marshall came off the bench at Detroit with career-highs of 16 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes. Marshall, a 6-7 forward from Davie, Fla., hit seven of the 10 shots he attempted in the victory, including four of five in the second half. He then hit two of four shots from the floor and a pair of free throws, while scoring six points in 12 minutes at Wright State. Marshall has three double-figures scoring performances in Butler’s last six games and four for his collegiate career.
BOARDING PASS: The Bulldogs had a rebounding advantage in both games last weekend. Butler out-boarded Detroit, 37-26, behind the balanced effort of freshman Khyle Marshall (7), seniors Shelvin Mack (7) and Matt Howard (6) and sophomore Andrew Smith (6). Two nights later, Smith grabbed eight rebounds and senior Shawn Vanzant added seven to lead Butler to a 35-27 rebounding advantage over Wright State. The Bulldogs, who have out-rebounded 13 of 19 opponents this season, will take on the Horizon League’s top rebounding team, Green Bay, on Friday.
FREE TIME: Butler continues to lead the Horizon League in team free throw shooting (.752). The Bulldogs connected on 19 of 25 (.760) free throw attempts at Detroit and then cashed 13 of 18 (.722) from the charity stripe at Wright State.
•Senior Matt Howard has scored in 123 consecutive Butler games, every game of his collegiate career. He has 90 career double-figures scoring performances.
•Matt Howard did not have a two-point field goal at Detroit. It was just the second time in his Butler career that he failed to cash a two-pointer in a game. The other time was against Virginia Tech at the Great Alaska Shootout in his fifth collegiate contest.
•Matt Howard stands seventh on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,660 career points. He’s fourth on Butler’s all-time rebounding chart with 744 career rebounds, four behind Darren Fowlkes (1985-89) in third place.
•Matt Howard ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring (17.3) and third rebounding (7.6).
•Matt Howard is leading the Bulldogs, and he ranks second in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.851).
•Matt Howard is the lone player in the Horizon League to rank among the league’s “Top 10” players in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage.
•Matt Howard has averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in eight games in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season. He’s shooting .586 from the field at home.
•Matt Howard has averaged 14.3 points in six career games against Green Bay.
•Matt Howard was named Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Month for December. The two-time Academic All-American averaged 19.3 points last month.
•Shelvin Mack stands in 23rd place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,190 career points. He’s 18 points behind Tim McRoberts (1980-84) in the No. 22 spot on Butler’s all-time chart.
•Shelvin Mack has made 23 of 25 free throws (.920) against Horizon League foes.
•Shelvin Mack, who hit a single three-point field goal at Wright State, has moved into 10th place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals. He’s connected on 166 career three-pointers, eight behind Jermaine Guice (1990-94) in ninth place.
•Shelvin Mack is 10th on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 293 career assists, 12 behind Ohio State assistant coach Brandon Miller (2000-03) in the No. 9 spot.
•Junior Shelvin Mack’s 28 points in the Bulldogs’ last home game against Youngstown State were the most by a Butler player since Feb. 15, 2009, when Matt Howard scored 30 against Loyola.
•The Bulldogs are 35-6 when Shelvin Mack scores at least 14 points and 22-3 when he leads the team in scoring.
•Junior Ronald Nored, who had a season-high seven assists at Detroit, has moved into 14th place on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 262 career assists. He’s nine assists behind Travis Trice (1993-95) and Tom Orner (1975-79), who share the No. 12 position.
•Ronald Nored has averaged 10.0 points, 3.7 assists and 3.0 steals in his last three games in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
•Sophomore Andrew Smith has connected on 44 of his last 60 (.733) field goal attempts, including 33 of his last 44. Smith leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.639).
•Andrew Smith is shooting .732 (30-41) against Horizon League foes.
•Senior guard Shawn Vanzant matched his season scoring-high with 14 points at Detroit. He then grabbed a season-high seven rebounds at Wright State.
•Shawn Vanzant has had just two turnovers as a starter in the last four games.
•Freshman Khyle Marshall has averaged 8.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in a reserve role in Butler’s past six games. He’s had three double-figures scoring performances over that stretch.
•Butler has won 25 of its last 26 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.
•Butler has won its last 28 games when hitting at least nine three-point field goals. The Bulldogs have hit nine or more three-pointers five times this season.
•The Bulldogs are 45-1 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.