February 1, 2011

Bulldogs Begin Ohio Swing At Youngstown State

BUSINESS TRAVEL:  Butler begins a crucial two-game, Horizon League road swing through northeast Ohio when it visits Youngstown State on Thursday, Feb. 3.  The league test at the Beeghly Center on the Youngstown State campus is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (ET).  The Bulldogs (14-8, 6-4 Horizon League) are coming off back-to-back overtime losses, including an 85-79 decision at Valparaiso on Saturday (Jan. 29).  Those two setbacks dropped Butler into fourth place in the league standings, the lowest the Bulldogs have been after 10 league games under fourth-year head coach Brad Stevens.  Youngstown State (7-14, 1-10 HL) has dropped its last five games and eight straight league contests overall.  The two latest setbacks came at Loyola, 84-71, and at UIC, 83-61, last weekend.  The Penguins are 7-4 in the Beeghly Center this season.  Butler is 2-3 since beating Youngstown State, 84-79, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Jan. 9, and the Bulldogs have lost two straight road games for just the second time this season.  Butler will close out its two-game Ohio swing at league-leading Cleveland State on Saturday (Feb. 5).  That game is scheduled for 12 noon and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.                   

Butler has not lost three straight games under head coach Brad Stevens.  

NARROW MARGIN:  Five of Butler’s eight losses this season have come by six points or less, including three in overtime.  The Bulldogs have had a lead in the second half in each of their last three setbacks.

Butler’s 14 wins this season have come by an average margin of 16.1 points.

SCORING LEADERS:  Butler continues to lead the Horizon League in team scoring offense with a 74.9 points per game average.  The Bulldogs have scored 80 or more points in four of their last six games and in nine total games this season.  Only one other Butler team (2007-08) in the past decade has had as many as six 80-point games, and no Butler team since 1995 has had as many as nine.  Butler stands third in the league in scoring margin (+7.4).
 
LAST TIME OUT:  Host Valparaiso used a red-hot shooting performance to hand Butler an 85-79 setback in overtime in the second meeting between the two teams this season.  It was the Crusaders’ first victory over Butler in 18 years!  Trailing 31-26 at halftime, the Crusaders caught fire in the second half.  The host squad hit 12 of its final 19 shots (.632) in regulation play to send the game into overtime and then put on an even hotter shooting performance in the overtime period.  Valparaiso hit five of its seven (.714) shots, including a pair of three-point attempts, in the extra session to claim the victory.  The Crusaders, who hit just one of their first 10 three-point field goal attempts in the game, closed by connecting on nine of their final 12 (.750) long-range shots!  Butler had beaten Valparaiso, 76-59, in the first meeting this season.

BENCH SPARK:  Senior Zach Hahn came off the bench with an impressive shooting performance and wound up sharing Butler’s scoring lead at Valparaiso.  He sparked a 9-0 Butler run in the second half with eight consecutive points to give the Bulldogs their biggest lead in the game, 40-31.  The 6-0 Butler guard matched his career-high with five three-point field goals in the game, and he tied his career-high with 17 points.  It was his first double-figures scoring performance since Christmas Day, when he tallied 14 points as a starter in Butler’s victory over Washington State in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.

Zach Hahn has hit nine of his last 18 three-point field goal attempts.

DOUBLING UP:  Senior Matt Howard recorded his third consecutive double-double and his eighth overall this season with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Valparaiso.  He shared team and game-scoring honors with teammate Zach Hahn, and he led all players on the boards.  Howard also added team-highs of two steals and two blocked shots, plus a pair of assists, in the game.  The 6-8 Butler forward had three consecutive double-doubles earlier this season in the Bulldogs’ games against Ball State, Siena and Evansville.  He has 18 double-doubles for his Butler career.

Matt Howard has scored in double-figures in 20 of Butler’s last 21 games.

SENIOR MOMENT:  Senior Shawn Vanzant turned in a career-high 39 minutes of action at Valparaiso.  The 6-1 guard matched his season scoring-high with 14 points in the game, and he added five rebounds, three assists and a steal.  He had just one turnover in the extended stint on the floor.  Vanzant has had three double-figures scoring performances in Butler’s last five games.

DEEP THREAT:  Butler connected on a season-high 13 three-point field goals at Valparaiso.  Five different players contributed to the long-range assault, led by senior Zach Hahn with five.  Senior Shawn Vanzant matched his career-high with three three-pointers in the game, while senior Matt Howard and sophomore Chase Stigall each added a pair.  Junior Shelvin Mack had the Bulldogs’ other long-range basket.  The 13 three-pointers were the most by the Bulldogs since last year’s NCAA Tournament, when Butler nailed 13 three-pointers in a first round victory over UTEP.

Butler ranks second in the Horizon League in 3-point field goals/game (7.4).   

BOARD ROOM:  The Bulldogs, paced by the 10-rebound performances of senior Matt Howard, out-rebounded Valparaiso, 38-30. It was the fourth time in the last five games that Butler has finished with a rebounding advantage and two of those games were against a pair of the Horizon League’s top rebounding teams.  Butler had 16 offensive rebounds against the Crusaders, one game after pulling down 15 offensive boards against Milwaukee.  The Bulldogs’ season-high for offensive rebounds is 17.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Matt Howard has been named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, presented for notable achievement in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

•Senior Matt Howard has scored in 126 consecutive Butler games, every game of his collegiate career.  He has 93 career double-figures scoring performances.

•Matt Howard stands seventh on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,724 career points.  He ranks third on Butler’s all-time rebounding list with 780 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring (17.9) and third rebounding (8.2).

•Matt Howard is leading the Bulldogs, and he ranks eighth in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.805).

•Matt Howard is the lone player in the Horizon League to rank among the league’s “Top 10” players in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and 3-point FG%.

•Matt Howard has averaged 21.3 points and 12.0 rebounds in Butler’s last three games.

•Matt Howard has averaged 19.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in seven career games against Youngstown State.  He’s averaged 18.0 points and 7.0 rebounds at the Beeghly Center.

•Matt Howard is third in the Horizon League in three-point field goal shooting (.458).  Howard, who hit a single long range shot against the Penguins last month, has hit 11 of his last 21 (.524) shots from the three-point arc.

•Junior Shelvin Mack, who scored 10 points at Valparaiso, has averaged 17.4 points during his career against Youngstown State.  He had a career-high 28 points against the Penguins last month.

•Shelvin Mack stands in 21st place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,237 career points.  He’s six points behind Gerry WIlliams (1960-63) in the No. 20 spot on the Bulldogs’ all-time chart.

•Shelvin Mack stands in 10th place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals.  He’s connected on 169 career three-pointers, five behind Jermaine Guice (1990-94) in ninth place.

•Shelvin Mack has moved into ninth place on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 306 career assists.  He’s four assists behind Mike Monserez (2001-04) in the No. 8 spot on Butler’s all-time list.

•Shelvin Mack’s first collegiate 20-point scoring performance came at the Beeghly Center in 2008.  He had 22 points against the Penguins in just his seventh collegiate game.

•The Bulldogs are 36-7 when Shelvin Mack scores at least 14 points and 22-4 when he leads the team in scoring.

•Junior Ronald Nored, who had just one assist last weekend, stands in 14th place on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 268 career assists.  He’s three assists behind Travis Trice (1993-95) and Tom Orner (1975-79), who share the No. 12 position.

•Sophomore Andrew Smith has connected on 52 of his last 71 (.732) field goal attempts, including 41 of his last 55.  Smith leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.648).

•Andrew Smith is shooting .731 (38-52) against Horizon League foes.  The 6-11 center hit three of four shots against the Penguins last month.

•Junior Garrett Butcher sat out Butler’s last three games with deep bone bruise in his lower left leg.  His status for this weekend’s games at Youngstown State and Cleveland State is undetermined.  Butcher has played in 18 games this season, including two as a starter.

•Freshman Khyle Marshall has averaged 10.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in the five games since Butler’s last meeting with Youngstown State.

•The Bulldogs committed a season-high 18 turnovers at Valparaiso.  Butler is second in the league in fewest turnovers (11.5).

•The Bulldogs are 45-2 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.

•Butler has won 25 of its last 26 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.