February 24, 2011

Bulldogs Get Title Shot Against Loyola

2011 Senior Audio Tribute (by Brandon Gaudin)

FULL HOUSE:  Butler will close out its 2010-11 regular season slate when it hosts Loyola in an all-important Horizon League contest on Saturday, Feb. 26.  The game at Hinkle Fieldhouse, which is already sold out, will start at 2 p.m. (ET) and will be televised locally on WNDY 23.  The Bulldogs (20-9, 12-5 HL), riding a six-game winning streak, have climbed into a share of the Horizon League lead with Milwaukee and Cleveland State and can clinch a fifth consecutive championship with a victory.  The Bulldogs also have a shot at the No. 1 seed and the right to host the Horizon League Tournament.  Loyola (16-13, 7-10 HL) knocked Valparaiso out of a share of the league lead, 68-48, on Thursday.  The Ramblers clinched a winning season with the impressive victory.

SENIOR DAY:  Saturday's game against Loyola will be the final regular season home contest for five seniors on Butler's roster.  The five - Matt Howard, Zach Hahn, Shawn Vanzant, Grant Leiendecker and Alex Anglin - have helped Butler to 109 wins, three Horizon League regular season championships, two Horizon League tournament titles and three consecutive trips to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, including a berth in the national title game a year ago.  The 109 wins are the second-most by any senior class in Butler basketball history!

Butler's seniors have recorded 61 Horizon League victories.                                

STREAKING BULLDOGS:  Butler has won its last six games, after dropping three straight contests for the first time under head coach Brad Stevens.  The six-game winning streak matches Butler's longest of the season.

HOME WORK:  Butler improved to 11-2 at Hinkle Fieldhouse with its victory over Detroit on Feb. 12.  It was Butler's seventh Horizon League victory at home in eight games this season.  The Bulldogs, who were 15-0 at home a year ago, have won 26 of their last 28 home contests, and Butler stands 151-19 in Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.  Butler has won at least 10 home games in 16 consecutive seasons.

Butler is 55-5 at Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.

LAST TIME OUT:  Butler used a 21-5 run in the final 7:37 of the first half to gain control of its final Horizon League road contest at UIC and then pulled away in the second half to record a 79-52 victory.  Forward Andrew Smith sparked Butler's first period run with eight points, and guard Shelvin Mack scored the final six points of the half to lift the Bulldogs to a 40-27 halftime lead.  Butler stretched that margin to as many as 30 points late in the game.  Thirteen players saw action for the Bulldogs in the win and 11 cracked the scoring column, led by senior Matt Howard with 19 points and Smith with 16.

Butler posted its 12th Horizon League victory for the fifth straight season.  

HITTING 20:  Butler recorded its sixth consecutive 20-win season and its 13th 20-win ledger in the past 15 campaigns with the victory at UIC.  The Bulldogs, who set a school and Horizon League record with 33 wins a year ago, have averaged 27 wins over the past four seasons, including two campaigns of 30 or more victories.  Butler owns the longest active streak of 20-win seasons in the Horizon League.

LEAD ROLE:  Forward Matt Howard led the Bulldogs in scoring in both road wins last week.  He had 22 points, including the game-winning dunk, at Green Bay and then came back with 19 points at UIC.  He's led or shared the team lead in scoring 15 times this season and the 47 times during his Butler career.  He also shared the team rebounding lead in both games, boosting his season total for topping the Bulldogs to 20 and his career total to 61.      

ON TARGET:  Senior Matt Howard and sophomore Andrew Smith combined for 35 points, while shooting 64% (14-22), in Butler's victory at UIC.  Howard, who led all scorers with 19 points, hit seven of 12 shots in the game, while Smith, who added 16 points, connected on seven of 10 field goal attempts.  The two forwards helped Butler shoot 53.1% (17-32) in the first half and 50% (32-64) for the game.

The Bulldogs have shot 50% or better in three of the past five games.

SCORING STREAK:  Junior Shelvin Mack posted his 13th consecutive double-figures scoring performance with 10 points in Butler's victory at UIC.  He scored eight of his points in the first half to help Butler gain early control.  During the Bulldogs' past 13 games, the 6-3 guard has averaged 17.0 points and led the Bulldogs in scoring six times.  Mack, who had just nine points against Loyola in December, has averaged 17.2 points during Butler's current six-game winning streak.

Shelvin Mack has led Butler in scoring in four of the past six games.

OFF THE GLASS:  The Bulldogs, paced by senior Matt Howard and sophomore Andrew Smith, finished with a 39-32 rebounding advantage over UIC, the top rebounding squad in the Horizon League.  Howard and Smith shared the team lead with nine rebounds apiece, and the two combined for eight offensive rebounds.  It was the eighth time in the last nine games that Butler out-rebounded its opponent.

Butler is second in the Horizon League in rebounding margin (+3.6).

CARE UNIT:  The Bulldogs matched a season-low with just six turnovers in the win at UIC.  Butler had just two turnovers in the first 20 minutes of the contest, and the Bulldogs didn't commit their sixth turnover until less than three minutes remained in the game.  The last time Butler had fewer than six turnovers in a game was in January of 2008, when the Bulldogs finished with five turnovers in a victory over Milwaukee.

Butler is second in the Horizon League in fewest turnovers per game (11.3).

BULLDOG BITS:

•Matt Howard has been named the 2010-11 Academic All-American of the Year.  Howard was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Team for a school-record third consecutive year.

•Matt Howard is 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.

•Matt Howard has tied former teammate A. J. Graves (2004-08) for most career starts at Butler with 124.  Howard is two games away from the Butler career record for games played (134), held by Willie Veasley (2006-10).

•Matt Howard has moved into third place on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,809 career points.  He's third on Butler's all-time rebounding list with 822 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard is the first player in Butler basketball history to score 1,500 career points and grab 800 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard ranks third in the Horizon League in both scoring (17.1) and rebounding (8.0).  He's ninth in the league in blocked shots (0.7).

•Matt Howard has averaged 17.8 points and 7.4 rebounds in seven career games against Loyola.  He's averaged 21.7 points in three games against the Ramblers in Hinkle Fieldhouse, including a career-high 30 points in 2008-09.

•Matt Howard is second in the Horizon League in 3-point field goal shooting (.453).  Howard has hit 23 of his last 48 (.479) shots from the 3-point arc.

•Junior Shelvin Mack stands in 15th place on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,358 career points.  He's trails Rylan Hainje (1998-2002) in the No. 14 spot on the Bulldogs' all-time chart by 30 points.

•Shelvin Mack is fifth on Butler's all-time list for three-point field goals with 185.  He's four three-pointers shy of Brandon Miller (2000-03) in the No. 4 position.

•Shelvin Mack is fifth in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (1.9).

•Shelvin Mack ranks fifth on Butler's all-time assist chart with 334 career assists.  He's also currently fifth in the Horizon League in assists/game (3.7).

•Shelvin Mack has made his last 22 free throw attempts.  He ranks eighth in the Horizon League in FT% (.803).

•Senior Shawn Vanzant has posted four consecutive double-figures scoring performances for the first time in his Butler career.  He had 11 points at UIC, after scoring 12 points at Green Bay, 12 against Detroit and 15 against Wright State.

•Shawn Vanzant has averaged 11.2 points over Butler's six-game winning streak.

•Shawn Vanzant is shooting .565 (26-46) over Butler's last six games.

•Shawn Vanzant is eighth in the Horizon League in assist/turnover ratio (1.6).  Vanzant has had 11 assists and just five turnovers in Butler's last six games.

•Senior Zach Hahn ranks 14th on Butler's all-time list for 3-point field goals with 148, three behind LaVall Jordan (1997-01) in the No. 13 spot and four behind Darin Archbold (1988-92) in the No. 12 position.

•Junior Ronald Nored, who had three steals last week, is tied for 10th place in the Horizon League in steals (1.3).

•Ronald Nored stands 11th on Butler's all-time assist chart with 289 career assists.

•Sophomore Andrew Smith continues to lead the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.635).  He's shooting .670 (69-103) against league foes.

•Andrew Smith is shooting .725 (50-69) in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

•Andrew Smith has averaged 10.5 points and 7.0 rebounds during Butler's current six-game winning streak.

•Butler has shot .773 from the charity stripe in Hinkle Fieldhouse.  The Bulldogs are currently second in the Horizon League in team free throw shooting (.737).

•The Bulldogs are 46-3 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.

•Butler has won 27 of its last 28 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.