December 16, 2010

Bulldogs Host First-Time Visitor Stanford

HOLIDAY HOST:  Butler will face a first-time visitor for the second consecutive game when it hosts Stanford in a non-league test on Saturday, Dec. 18.  The game will tip at 2:05 p.m. (ET) and will be nationally-televised on CBS.  Butler snapped a two-game skid and improved to 5-4 on the season with a 91-71 win over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday (Dec. 11).  It was the first visit by the Delta Devils to Butler’s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Stanford (6-2) also is making its first visit to Butler’s homecourt.  The contest is the first of a two-game contract, which will send the Bulldogs to California next season. Stanford, boasting a three-game winning streak, is the first Pac-10 team to play in Hinkle Fieldhouse since 1965, when USC made the long trek to Butler’s homecourt.   The Stanford game will be Butler’s final home contest of 2010.  The Bulldogs will close out the year in Hawaii at the 2010 Diamond Head Classic, which begins on Wednesday, Dec. 22.                            

Butler began 2010 with an 80-67 victory at home over Milwaukee.

TV FIRST:  Stanford won’t be the only first-time visitor to Butler’s homecourt on Saturday.  CBS will be broadcasting a game from Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time.  Greg Gumbel will handle play-by-play duties on the telecast, while Greg Anthony will be the analyst.  Butler has had nine appearances on CBS during the NCAA Tournament over the past three seasons.  

HOME TURF:  The Bulldogs, who were 15-0 in Hinkle Fieldhouse a year ago, improved to 3-1 at home this season with their victory over Mississippi Valley State.    Butler was 30-2 at home in the previous two seasons and had a 17-game homecourt winning streak, prior to an overtime loss to Evansville on Nov. 27.  The Bulldogs are 47-4 at home in four seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.

FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS:  Butler is averaging 82.5 points and yielding 62.8 points in four home games this season.  In five games away from Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler is averaging 65.4 points and giving up 68.2.  The Bulldogs are shooting .448 from the field and .798 from the free throw line in the Fieldhouse this season.  

LAST TIME OUT:  Butler rebounded from back-to-back losses to No. 1 Duke and Xavier to post its highest point total of the season in a 91-71 victory over Mississippi Valley State at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  The Bulldogs bolted to a 48-25 advantage by halftime and then held off the hot-shooting Delta Devils with 43 more points in the second half.  The visitors shot 58% (18-31) in the final period and 51% (27-53) for the game but were unable to get closer than 20 points in the final 20 minutes.  All 14 Butler players saw action in the game, and 12 Bulldogs broke into the scoring column.  Senior forward Matt Howard led all players with a season-high 26 points, while junior Shelvin Mack added a dozen.  Mississippi Valley State, which led just once at 3-2, was topped by Terrence Joyner and Kevin Burwell with 13 points apiece.

POINTING UP:  Senior Matt Howard led the Bulldogs in scoring for the fifth time in the last six games with 26 points against Mississippi Valley State.  It was the highest scoring total for the 6-8 forward since he tallied a career-high 30 points against Loyola during his sophomore season.  Howard hit seven of 10 shots from the field and 12 of 13 from the free throw line in Butler’s win over Mississippi Valley State.  He also had four rebounds and season-highs of three assists and two blocked shots in the victory.

Matt Howard is averaging 16.8 points in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.  

BALANCING ACT:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens used his entire roster against Mississippi Valley State, and only two Bulldogs (forward Matt Howard and guard Shelvin Mack) played more than 23 minutes.  The Bulldogs scored a season-high 91 points, despite having only two players reach double-figures.  Seven different players contributed to 29 bench points for the Bulldogs, led by freshman Chrishawn Hopkins with six.      

Butler has nine players averaging 11 or more minutes per game.  

CHARITABLE SEASON:  For the second straight game, the Bulldogs were “red-hot” at the free throw line.  Butler hit 15 of its first 17 free throw attempts against Mississippi Valley State and a season-best 29 of 32 (.906) for the game.  The Bulldogs finished the contest by connecting on their final 12 attempts from the charity stripe.  Eight different players contributed to Butler’s success at the line, led by senior Matt Howard’s 12 of 13 shooting.  One game earlier, the Bulldogs made their first 16 free throw attempts at Xavier, before finishing the game with a 16 of 18 (.889) effort.

Butler leads the Horizon League in team free throw shooting (.736).

HANDLE WITH CARE:  Butler matched its season-low with just six turnovers against Mississippi Valley State.  The Bulldogs didn’t commit their first turnover until 4:40 remained in the first half, and Butler had just two turnovers in the first 20 minutes.  Butler also had just six turnovers against Marian.  

Butler is second in the Horizon League in fewest turnovers per game (11.6).  

CLOSING IN:  Senior Matt Howard stands in the No. 11 spot on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,482 career points.  He needs three points to catch Jon Neuhouser (1994-08) in the No. 10 spot on the all-time list.  Howard has moved into the No. 10 position on Butler’s all-time rebounding list with 660 career rebounds.  Three former players (Chad Tucker, Lynn Mitchem and Darren Fowlkes) currently rank in Butler’s all-time “Top 10” for both scoring and rebounding.  

SCORING CLIMB:  Junior Shelvin Mack became the 33rd Butler player to score 1,000 career points, during the Bulldogs’ game against Evansville.  He enters this weekend’s game against Stanford in 30th place on Butler’s all-time scoring chart with 1,051 career points, 35 points behind Avery Sheets (2002-06) in 29th place on the Bulldogs’ career chart.

EARLY CHALLENGES:  Xavier, a “Sweet 16” team a year ago, was the fourth team Butler has faced this season from last year’s NCAA Tournament.  The Bulldogs also have played Louisville, Siena and defending national champ Duke, all away from Hinkle Fieldhouse.  The Bulldogs could face a couple more NCAA Tournament teams next week in Hawaii with Florida State and Baylor in the Diamond Head Classic field.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Senior Matt Howard has scored in 113 consecutive Butler games, every game of his collegiate career.

•Matt Howard recorded his eighth straight game in double-figures this season with his 26 points against Mississippi Valley State.  Howard has averaged 19.5 points over Butler’s last eight games.

•Matt Howard is shooting .613 (19-31) from the field in four games at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.  He’s hit 12 of 18 (.667) shots in his last two home games.

•Matt Howard currently ranks third in the Horizon League in both scoring (16.9) and rebounding (7.9). Howard stands sixth in the league in field goal percentage (.540).

•Matt Howard, who had made just five three-point field goals prior to this season, has hit eight of 16 long range shots this season.  He’s connected on six straight three-pointers.

•Matt Howard is leading the Bulldogs, and he ranks sixth in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.833).  Howard has hit 28 of 32 free throws (.875) in four games at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

•Matt Howard is one of 30 candidates nominated for the 2010-11 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  The award is presented to one senior who has shown notable achievement in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition.

•Junior Shelvin Mack matched his career-high with eight assists against Mississippi Valley State.  He’s 21 assists shy of Darren Fowlkes (1985-89) in 10th place on Butler’s all-time assist chart.

•Shelvin Mack scored all 12 of his points against Mississippi Valley State in the first half.  It was his seventh double-figures scoring performance this season.

•Shelvin Mack has 143 career three-point field goals.  He’s 15 three-pointers behind Darrin Fitzgerald (1986-87) in 10th place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals.

•The Bulldogs are 30-6 when Shelvin Mack scores at least 14 points and 19-3 when he leads the team in scoring.

•Shelvin Mack is averaging 16.0 points in Butler’s four games at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.  

•Junior Ronald Nored had a season-high with nine points against Mississippi Valley State.  It was his highest point total since last March, when the 6-0 guard tallied 15 points against Murray State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

•Senior Zach Hahn, who had a pair of three-point field goals (and six points) against Mississippi Valley State, has a team-high eight three-pointers in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

•Zach Hahn is perfect at the free throw stripe (8-8) in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.  Hahn has hit 15 of 18 (.833) free throws on the season, but doesn’t have enough free throws made (2.0/game) to qualify for league rankings.

•Sophomore Andrew Smith had nine points 23 minutes against Mississippi Valley State.  He hit four of the six shots he attempted from the field, as well as his lone free throw attempt.

•Andrew Smith is shooting .650 (13-20) from the field in three games at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.  

•Freshman Khyle Marshall came off the bench with five points and five rebounds in 15 minutes against Mississippi Valley State.

•Freshman Erik Fromm had four points and two rebounds in five minutes against Mississippi Valley State.  He hit all four of his free throw attempts in the game, and he’s perfect at the stripe (6-6) in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

•Senior Shawn Vanzant is shooting .579 (11-19) at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, including 50% (3-6) from 3-point range.

•Freshman Chrishawn Hopkins matched his career scoring-high with six points in a career-high 14 minutes against Mississippi Valley State.  Hopkins also had six points against Marian at Hinkle Fieldhouse in his first collegiate game.

•The Bulldogs topped 90 points for just the second time under head coach Brad Stevens with their 91-point performance against Mississippi Valley State.  Butler also scored 91 points in a victory over Youngstown State at Hinkle Fieldhouse last January.

•Butler’s 29 free throws made against Mississippi Valley State matched the third-highest single game total under head coach Brad Stevens.  The Bulldogs made 36 free throws against Minnesota and 31 against Evansville in back-to-back games last year.  Butler also made 29 free throws against Green Bay in 2007-08.

•Butler has won its last 24 games when hitting at least nine three-point field goals.

•The Bulldogs are 41-1 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.  Butler currently is third in the Horizon League in three-point field goals per game (7.0).

•The Bulldogs had won 23 consecutive games when yielding fewer than 60 points, prior to the Xavier contest.  Butler has held four of its first nine opponents this season under 60 points.

•Butler is one of just three NCAA Division I schools to win at least 25 games in each of the last four seasons.  The other two are Kansas and BYU.