Butler, coming off a successful two-game trip to Ohio, will begin
its final homestand of the season when it hosts long-time Horizon
League foe Loyola on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The Valentine’s
Day contest against the Ramblers will tip at 7 p.m. (ET) at Hinkle
Fieldhouse and will be televised in central Indiana on
WNDY-TV. The Bulldogs, who swept both Youngstown State and
Cleveland State on the road last week, are locked in a battle for
third place in the Horizon League with Detroit and Youngstown
State. All three stand 9-6 in league play, and each trails
league-leading Valparaiso (11-4) and second place Cleveland State
(10-4) with two weeks of league play remaining. Butler
maintained its position in the title chase with victories over
Youngstown State, 68-59, and Cleveland State, 52-49, in its last
two league contests. The two wins lifted the Bulldogs to
15-12 on the season and to 3-1 in February. Butler and Loyola
will be meeting for the second time in four weeks. The
Bulldogs captured the first meeting in Chicago, 63-57, on Jan.
21. The Ramblers (6-18, 1-13 HL) picked up their first
Horizon League victory with a 78-69 decision over UIC last
weekend. Following Tuesday’s game, Butler will take a
break from Horizon League play to host Indiana State in Sears
BracketBuster X. The two state foes will meet at Hinkle
Fieldhouse on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. (ET). The Bulldogs
will close out their final homestand against UIC on Tuesday, Feb.
Butler has had 10-plus conference wins in a league-record six consecutive seasons.
HOUSE WORK: The Bulldogs, who have played six of their last eight games on the road, will play three of their final four regular season contests at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler is 8-5 at the Fieldhouse this season with wins in four of it’s last six home games. Since Brad Stevens took over as head coach, Butler is 64-10 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and 38-5 in Horizon League regular season home games.
Butler is 160-24 at Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
TOURNAMENT CHECK: The 2012 Horizon League Tournament will begin on Feb. 28 with four games at campus sites. The top two teams in the final league standings receive first-round byes. The No. 3 seed will host No. 10, No. 4 will host No. 9, No. 5 will host No. 8 and No. 6 will host No. 7 in the first round.
STATE SWEEP: Butler used two strong defensive efforts to pull off back-to-back wins in Ohio last week. The Bulldogs limited Youngstown State, the Horizon League leader in three-point field goals, to a season-low three baskets from beyond the three-point arc and just 17.6% (3-17) three-point shooting. Two days later, Butler held Cleveland State to 18 points in the first half and 49 points for the game. The Bulldogs limited the host Vikings to 24% shooting in the first 20 minutes, including an 0-9 effort from beyond the three-point arc, while building a 10-point halftime lead. Butler then held Cleveland State to just one field goal in the final six minutes. The two wins lifted Butler to 3-0 in Ohio this season.
HIGH IMPACT: Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins and freshman Kameron Woods combined on two of the game’s biggest plays in the closing minutes of Butler’s victory at Cleveland State. The first came with just over a minute-and-a-half remaining and the score tied at 49-49. Woods rebounded a missed layup by teammate Roosevelt Jones and passed it back to Hopkins, who banked in a short jump shot to give Butler the lead for good. Then, with 12 seconds remaining and Cleveland State in possession of the ball, Hopkins deflected a Vikings’ pass and it was picked up by Woods, who was immediately fouled. The Butler forward made one of two free throws for the final margin.
CAREER DAYS: Butler picked up career-best performances from a couple of freshmen on the team’s successful trip to northeast Ohio. First-year forward Roosevelt Jones (right) helped power the Bulldogs past Cleveland State with a career-high 17 points, including a 7-10 performance at the free throw line. That scoring total topped his previous high of 16 points, which he accomplished three times in Butler’s previous seven games. And guard Jackson Aldridge, who had just one double-figures scoring performance since Jan. 1, came off the bench and matched his collegiate scoring-high with 15 points at Youngstown State. His 15 points matched the total he compiled in Butler’s victory at Stanford just before Christmas.
RETURN ADDRESS: Sophomore Khyle Marshall, who missed consecutive Butler games against Detroit and Youngstown State with concussion symptoms, returned to action against Cleveland State and immediately made his presence felt. The 6-6 forward came off the bench with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds, including four offensive boards, in 24 minutes to help lift Butler past the Vikings. It was his highest scoring total since Jan. 21, when he scored 14 points at Loyola.
SHORT LIST: Senior Ronald Nored (top right) led the Bulldogs with a career-high 11 rebounds at Youngstown State. It was the third time this season that the 6-0 point-guard led the Bulldogs in rebounding and the fourth time for his career. He also led the Bulldogs with six assists at Youngstown State and with four assists at Cleveland State. This season, Nored became just the second player in Butler basketball history (5-9 point-guard Thomas Jackson, 1998-2002, is the other) to record 400 career points, 400 career rebounds and 400 career assists.
Ronald Nored has had career-highs for points (18), rebounds (11) and assists (9) in Butler’s last 15 games.
THREE FREE: Butler won at Cleveland State, despite the fact that the Bulldogs didn’t hit a single three-point field goal in the game. The Bulldogs were 0-8 from beyond the three-point arc and were out-scored 15-0 on three-pointers. The last time Butler won a game without the aid of a three-point field goal was at Bradley in the 1999 NIT. The Bulldogs won that game, 51-50, despite going 0-3 from long-range.
Butler is 7-2 all-time when not hitting a three-point field goal.
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 102-32 record during their four seasons 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. 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 Loyola in eighth place on the league’s overall wins list with 132 career victories, one ahead of his former boss Todd Lickliter (2001-07). Perry Watson of Detroit owns the league record with 261 victories from 1993 to 2008.
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. The Bulldogs, 4-3 all-time in BracketBusters’ games, are returning to the late season event after a one-year absence.
•Butler had a season-high nine blocked shots in last month’s game at Loyola. Sophomore Khyle Marshall led the way with a career-high three blocked shots, while junior Andrew Smith added a pair of blocks.
•Senior Ronald Nored stands second on Butler’s all-time list for steals (193), 14 behind career-leader Thomas Jackson (207 from 1998-2002).
•Ronald Nored ranks third in the Horizon League in steals (1.9).
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assists (4.8), and he stands third in assist/turnover ratio (1.7).
•Ronald Nored has averaged 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in his six career games against Loyola. He’s only had one career double-figures scoring performance against the Ramblers, and that came last month when he led the Bulldogs with 16 points.
•Junior Andrew Smith has shot .598 from the field, .474 from beyond the three-point arc and averaged 12.4 points in Butler’s 15 wins this season.
•Andrew Smith is averaging a team-best 11.8 points at home this season.
•Andrew Smith pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds in last month’s game at Loyola. It’s the highest rebound total for a Butler player in league play this season.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall continues to lead the Bulldogs in field goal shooting (.545). He’s fifth in the Horizon League.
•Sophomore Chase Stigall came off the bench with 10 points in 12 minutes against Loyola in last year’s game at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins scored a team-high 19 points at Youngstown State. It was his top point total since late November when he tallied 19 points at Indiana.
•Chrishawn Hopkins matched his career-high with four steals at Cleveland State.
• Chrishawn Hopkins has hit 20 of his last 22 free throw attempts.
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones has scored in double-figures in four of Butler’s last five games. He’s averaged 13.2 points over that stretch.
•Roosevelt Jones leads the Bulldogs and ranks seventh in the Horizon League in rebounding (6.2).
•Roosevelt Jones ranks third in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.7). He’s had 17 offensive rebounds in Butler’s last five games.
•Butler head coach Brad Stevens ranks seventh on the Horizon League’s all-time list for league victories. He enters this week with 71 career league victories, one behind former Loyola coach Gene Sullivan (1980-89) in sixth place on the all-time list.