February 6, 2011

Bulldogs Begin Homestand Against UIC

BACK HOME:  Butler, coming off three consecutive road contests, will begin a three-game homestand when it hosts Horizon League foe UIC on Monday, Feb. 7.  The first meeting between the two teams this season is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. (ET) at Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be televised locally on WNDY 23.  The Bulldogs, who dropped the first two games of their recent road stretch, are coming off a 73-61 victory over league-leading Cleveland State.  That win on the Vikings’ homecourt gave Butler a regular season sweep of the Horizon League’s pacesetters, while snapping the Bulldogs’ three-game losing skid.  Butler (15-9, 7-5 HL) enters this week’s action in fifth place in the league standings, two-and-a-half games behind Cleveland State.  UIC (6-18, 1-11 HL) is closing out its own three-game road stretch.  The Flames, who defeated Youngstown State (83-61) at home on Jan. 29, have dropped back-to-back games at Detroit (77-63) and Wright State (69-63).  Butler and UIC will meet again in Chicago on Feb. 19.                     

Butler is 52-5 at Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.  

HOME WORK:  Butler slipped to 8-2 at Hinkle Fieldhouse with an overtime loss to Milwaukee on Jan. 23.  It was Butler’s first Horizon League loss at home since February of 2009.  The Bulldogs, who were 15-0 at home a year ago, have won 23 of their last 25 home contests, and Butler stands 148-19 in Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.  Butler has won at least 10 home games in each of the past 15 seasons.

Butler is 68-12 against Horizon League foes at home in the past decade.

SCORING LEADER:  Butler continues to lead the Horizon League in team scoring offense with a 74.2 points per game average.  The Bulldogs have scored 80 or more points in four of their last eight 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.
 
LAST TIME OUT:  Senior Matt Howard led five Butler players in double-figures, and the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half to hand league-leading Cleveland State its second-biggest margin of defeat this season, 73-61.  The Bulldogs overcame an early 16-8 deficit and gradually built a 33-29 halftime lead.  The game was tied four times early in the second half, until forward Andrew Smith gave the Bulldogs the lead for good, 45-43, with a short jumper.  Butler extended the lead to double-digits, 63-53, on a three-point field goal by Howard with 4:48 remaining, and the Bulldogs took their biggest lead at 73-59 on a jump shot by Shelvin Mack with under a minute left.  Howard finished with 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, who snapped Cleveland State’s six-game winning streak and handed the Vikings their first home loss of 2010-11.

BALANCING ACT:  Butler’s win at Cleveland State marked just the second time this season that the Bulldogs had five different players score in double-figures.  Senior Matt Howard led the effort with 14 points, including 11 in the second half, while sophomore Andrew Smith finished with 13.  Freshman Khyle Smith came off the bench and scored 12 points in 15 minutes, while junior guard Shelvin Mack tallied 11.  Senior Shawn Vanzant rounded out the balanced effort with 10 points.  The only other time this season that Butler had five different players hit for double-figures in the same game was in the Bulldogs’ victory at Detroit.

POINTS PLUS:  Junior Shelvin Mack, who scored just 10 points on three of 12 shooting in Butler’s overtime loss at Valparaiso, bounced back in Ohio with 29 points in Butler’s two games.  He also led the Bulldogs in rebounding in both games, grabbing eight at Youngstown State and six at Cleveland State.  And the 6-3 guard shared the team lead in assists with three at Youngstown State, and then he topped the Bulldogs with seven assists at Cleveland State.  The seven assists were one off his career-high.

Shelvin Mack has averaged 16.5 points at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

DIALING LONG DISTANCE:  Senior Matt Howard had a game-high four three-point field goals in Butler’s victory at Cleveland State.  His total was one off his career-high, set last month at Detroit.  The 6-8 forward wound up hitting seven three-pointers on Butler’s two-game trip to Ohio, and he had at least one three-point field goal in nine of Butler’s last 10 games.  

Matt Howard has scored in double-figures in 22 of Butler’s last 23 games.

CENTER STAGE:  Sophomore Andrew Smith contributed 13 points, five rebounds, a career-high three assists, a blocked shot and a steal to Butler’s victory over Cleveland State.  The 6-11 center hit six of 10 shots in the game, and his only free throw attempt.  It was his second strong performance against the Vikings.  Earlier this season, Smith scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds in Butler’s 79-56 victory over Cleveland State at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Smith began Butler’s two-game trip to Ohio with 11 points and six rebounds at Youngstown State.

HANDLE WITH CARE:  The Bulldogs matched their season-low with just six turnovers at Cleveland State.  Butler had just one turnover in the first half.  

SMART CHOICE:  Senior Matt Howard was named to the Capital One Academic All-District V Team for the third consecutive year.  Howard, a two-time Academic All-American, was joined on the academic honor squad by Tim Abromaitis of Notre Dame, Blake Hoffarber of Minnesota, Drew Crawford of Northwestern and Ben Botts of IPFW.  The five All-District V performers will be considered, along with players from seven other districts, for Academic All-America recognition later this month.

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 128 consecutive Butler games, every game of his collegiate career.  He has 95 career double-figures scoring performances.

•Matt Howard has moved into fifth place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,750 career points.  He ranks third on Butler’s all-time rebounding list with 788 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring (17.5) and third rebounding (7.9).

•Matt Howard is leading the Bulldogs, and he ranks ninth in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.804).

•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 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in seven career games against UIC.  He’s averaged 16.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in four career games against the Flames in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

•Matt Howard has averaged 19.2 points and 9.0 rebounds at home this season.

•Matt Howard, who’s never hit a three-point field goal against UIC, is second in the Horizon League in 3-point field goal shooting (.459).  Howard has hit 18 of his last 36 (.500) shots from the 3-point arc.

•Junior Shelvin Mack has moved into 19th place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,266 career points.  He’s 45 points behind Ted Guzek (1954-58) in the No. 18 spot on the Bulldogs’ all-time chart.

•Shelvin Mack has moved into a tie for ninth place (with Jermaine Guice, 1990-94) on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals with 174.

•Shelvin Mack is tied with Mike Green, 2006-08, and A. J. Graves, 2004-08, for sixth place on Butler’s all-time assist chart.  All three have 316 career assists.  Avery Sheets, 2002-06, is fifth with 323.

•Shelvin Mark ranks fourth in the Horizon League in assists (3.8).

•Junior Ronald Nored needed five stitches to close a cut on his left hand, suffered late in the Youngstown State game.  He didn’t start against Cleveland State, but he came off the bench with four assists.

•Ronald Nored has moved into 12th place on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 275 career assists.  He’s three assists behind Darren Fowlkes (1985-89) in the No. 11 spot.

•Ronald Nored scored a career-high 16 points in Butler’s last meeting with UIC last season.

•Sophomore Andrew Smith has connected on 62 of his last 89 (.697) field goal attempts.  Smith leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.635).

•Andrew Smith, who hit 10 of 18 shots in Ohio last weekend, is shooting .686 (48-70) against Horizon League foes.

•Andrew Smith is averaging 10.2 points at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

•Andrew Smith played a total of 15 minutes and scored three points in two games against UIC last year.

•Senior Zach Hahn has hit 14 of his last 31 (.452) three-point field goal attempts.

•Junior Garrett Butcher, who missed four games with deep bone bruise in his lower left leg, came off the bench with four points in nine minutes at Cleveland State.  It was his first points since Dec. 11.

•Freshman Khyle Marshall came off the bench at Cleveland State and scored 12 points in 15 minutes!  He hit six of eight shots in the win.  Marshall has averaged 9.9 points in Butler’s last seven games.

•Butler has hit 30 three-point field goals in the past three games.

•The Bulldogs are 45-3 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.