MATINEE: Butler will close out its brief two-game
homestand and try to record a third consecutive homecourt victory
when it hosts talented Detroit on Saturday, Feb. 4. The game,
which is the second meeting between the two teams this season, is
scheduled for noon (ET) at Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be
nationally-televised on ESPN2. Detroit (12-12, 6-6 HL) won
the first meeting between the two league foes last month at home,
76-65. The Titans used a lethal long-range attack, hitting
nine of 16 (.563) shots from beyond the three-point arc, to take
control of that contest. Detroit boasts three first team
preseason All-League players and features league scoring leader Ray
McCallum (15.5 ppg). The Titans, who dropped a five-point
decision at Valparaiso on Thursday (Feb. 2), are the top scoring
team in the Horizon League, averaging 72.8 points per game.
Butler improved to 13-11 on the season and 7-5 in Horizon League
play with a 64-53 victory over Wright State to open the current
home set. That win snapped a two-game skid for the Bulldogs
and lifted Butler into a tie with Milwaukee and Youngstown State
for third place in the league standings. Following the
Detroit game, Butler will be back on the road for a key two-game
swing to Youngstown State and league-leading Cleveland State.
Butler has won 12 straight February home games.
HOUSE WARMING: The Bulldogs, who had just two home games in January, will play four of their final seven regular season contests at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler is 8-4 at home this season with wins in four of it’s last five games in the Fieldhouse. Since Brad Stevens took over as head coach, Butler is 64-9 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the Bulldogs have won 38 of 42 Horizon League regular season home games.
Butler is 160-23 at Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
LOOKING BACK: The Bulldogs are not too far off the pace they set a year ago, when they wound up in the NCAA Division I national championship game for a second consecutive year. Butler was 15-9 (7-5 Horizon League) through 24 games a year ago, and the Bulldogs were in fifth place in the league standings heading into their 25th game. This year’s squad is 13-11 (7-5 HL) through 24 games and in a tie for third place in the league standings.
GOOD START: Butler began its current two-game home set with one of its strongest performances of the season. The Bulldogs jumped to a 15-4 lead against visiting Wright State and never trailed the rest of the game. Wright State’s Cole Darling hit a three-quarter-court shot at the first half buzzer to cut Butler’s halftime lead to 35-26, but the Bulldogs scored the first four points of the second half and maintained a double-figures advantage for most of the remainder of the game. The Bulldogs hit 13 of 21 (.619) shots in the first 20 minutes and wound up shooting .467 (21-45) for the game. That was Butler’s second-best shooting performance of the season and the best by the Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse this year.
RETURN LEADER: Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins (above right) returned to Butler’s starting line for the first time since Dec. 7, and he responded by leading the Bulldogs with 13 points in 24 minutes. It was his second straight double-figures scoring performance and his highest point total since late November, when he tallied 19 points against Indiana. Hopkins, who’s led Butler in scoring five times this season, scored nine points in the first half to help Butler grab control of the game, and he sparked the Bulldogs to a season-best .783 effort from the free throw line by hitting seven of seven charity attempts for the game.
Chrishawn Hopkins has had six (of eight) career double-figures scoring performances as a starter.
SCORING ASSIST: Senior Ronald Nored (right), who had a team-high four assists, moved into fourth place on Butler’s all-time assist chart during the Bulldogs’ victory over Wright State. The Butler point-guard boosted his career total to 414 assists and moved ahead of Darrin Fitzgerald (1983-87) on the all-time list. He trails Jeff Rogers (1994-98) in third place on the all-time chart by 43 assists. Thomas Jackson (1998-2002) is Butler’s all-time leader with 540 career assists.
BALL HAWK: Freshman Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs in rebounding for the second straight contest and for the team-high ninth time this season with a game-high 11 rebounds against Wright State. Jones, who ranks fourth in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.6), led both teams with four offensive boards in the game. It was the third time this season that the 6-4 Jones grabbed at least 10 rebounds in a game. Jones has taken over Butler’s rebounding lead on the season (5.8).
CENTURY CLUB: Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher became just the fourth senior class in Butler basketball history to record 100 career victories. The two have helped Butler to a 100-31 record during their time in the program. Willie Veasley and Nick Rodgers (2006-10) are Butler’s all-time winningest class with 118 victories, while Matt Howard, Zach Hahn, Shawn Vanzant, Grant Leiendecker and Alex Anglin (2007-11) finished with 117. The class of Darnell Archey, Joel Cornette, Lewis Curry and Mike Moore (1999-2003) finished with 100 wins.
TOP TEN: Brad Stevens became the tenth coach in Horizon League history to record 125 career victories while a member of the league earlier this season. He enters Butler’s game against Detroit with 130 career wins, one behind his former boss, Todd Lickliter (2001-07) in ninth place on the league’s overall wins list. Perry Watson of Detroit owns the league record with 261 victories from 1993 to 2008.
AWARD FINALIST: Senior Ronald Nored 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. Nored, a four-year starter, has excelled in the classroom, on the court and in the community during his four seasons with the Bulldogs. He earned first team Horizon League Academic All-League honors last year, and he’s a former Horizon League Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He’s one of two current collegiate players to see action in each of the past two Division I national championship games. Nored is the second Butler player in two years to be named a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Matt Howard was honored at the 2011 Final Four as one of 10 finalists for last season’s award.
LOOKING AHEAD: Butler will face longtime foe Indiana State in this year’s Sears BracketBuster X on Saturday, Feb. 18. The game at Hinkle Fieldhouse will tip at 2 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on WNDY-TV. Butler and Indiana State, former conference opponents in the Indiana Collegiate Conference (1950-77), have played 123 times through the years, with the last meeting coming in 2007-08. The Bulldogs, 4-3 all-time in BracketBusters’ games, are returning to the late season event after a one-year absence.
•Senior Ronald Nored had two steals against Wright State, boosting his career total to 190. He stands second on Butler’s all-time list for thefts behind career-leader Thomas Jackson (207 from 1998-2002).
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assists (4.6) and stands third in assist/turnover ratio (1.7). Nored has had 23 assists and 10 turnovers in Butler’s last five games.
•Ronald Nored ranks third in the Horizon League in steals (2.0).
•Ronald Nored is averaging a team-best 11.1 points against Horizon League foes.
•Ronald Nored has hit 21 of his last 23 free throw attempts. He’s shooting .857 from the free throw line over Butler’s last five games.
•Ronald Nored has had career-highs for points (18), rebounds (9) and assists (9) in Butler’s last 12 games.
•Junior Andrew Smith has averaged 12.8 points in Butler’s 12 wins this season, but just 7.3 points in the Bulldogs’ 11 losses. Butler is 12-3 when Smith scores in double-figures.
•Andrew Smith is averaging a team-best 11.3 points in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.
•Andrew Smith did not miss a shot (4-4 FGs, 1-1 3FGs, 2-2 FTs) while scoring 11 points against Wright State.
•Andrew Smith had 15 points and six rebounds at Detroit a year ago. It was the first time he faced the Titans as a starter.
•Junior Chase Stigall has been Butler’s second-leading scorer in home games this season with an 8.9 average. Stigall has averaged just 3.5 points in road games.
•Chase Stigall came off the bench with seven points against Wright State. It was his highest point total since Butler’s last home game against Youngstown State.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall, who hit four of six shots against Wright State, continues to lead the Bulldogs in field goal shooting (.552). He ranks fifth in the Horizon League.
•Khyle Marshall’s top scoring performance as a freshman was a 16-point effort against Detroit at Calihan Hall.
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins has hit 15 consecutive free throws.
•Sophomore Erik Fromm, who had 10 points against Wright State, has posted back-to-back double-figures scoring performances for the first time in his Butler career.
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones ranks ninth in the Horizon League in rebounding (5.8).
•Butler head coach Brad Stevens has moved into seventh place on the Horizon League’s all-time list for league wins with 69, three behind Loyola’s Gene Sullivan (1980-89) in sixth place. Perry Watson of Detroit is the league’s all-time leader with 131 victories.