PLAY: Butler will continue its four-game homestand
and return to Hoosier Invitational play when its hosts Savannah
State on Monday, Nov. 21. The game at Hinkle FIeldhouse will
tip at 7 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on WNDY-TV. The
Bulldogs are looking to bounce back from a 69-53 home loss to No. 7
Louisville on Saturday (Nov. 19). Butler (1-2) had a lead in
that game with just over 12 minutes remaining, but the
nationally-ranked foe out-scored the Bulldogs, 29-12, over the
final 12 minutes to grab the victory. The 16-point difference
was Butler’s biggest margin of defeat at home since 1992 when
No. 5 North Carolina defeated the Bulldogs, 103-56.
Louisville was the highest-ranked team to play the Bulldogs in
Hinkle Fieldhouse since that visit by North Carolina.
Savannah State (1-3) is coming off a 94-65 loss at Indiana on
Saturday in another game of the Hoosier Invitational. The
Tigers fell behind, 46-31, in the first half of that contest and
never recovered. Savannah State will be making its first-ever
appearance in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler will wrap up its
homestand against Gardner-Webb on
Butler is 57-6 at Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.
HOME FRONT: Butler is playing seven of its first nine games at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs, who won their final four home games last season, had a five-game homecourt winning streak snapped on Saturday. Butler has won 28 of its last 31 home contests.
Butler has won 15 of 17 non-league games at home over the past three years.
HOOSIER INVITATIONAL: Butler’s next three games, beginning with the Savannah State contest, are part of the five-team Hoosier Invitational. The Bulldogs began the event with a victory at home over Chattanooga, 57-46, on Nov. 15. Butler wraps up its home portion of the tournament against Savannah State and Gardner-Webb, before concluding the event at Indiana on Sunday, Nov. 27.
RANKING ORDER: Louisville was the was the 20th “Top 25” team Butler has faced under head coach Brad Stevens. The Bulldogs are 9-11 in those 20 games, including wins in eight of the past 12 “Top 25” encounters. Butler’s last “Top 25” win came against No. 15 Florida in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
FINISHING TOUCH: Butler went toe-to-toe with seventh-ranked Louisville through three-fourths of the game and had a 41-40 lead with 12 minutes remaining. But seniors Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith combined for all 16 points in a 16-4 Louisville run that turned the game in the Cardinals’ favor. Kuric scored 10 points in the decisive run, while Smith added six to give Louisville a 56-45 lead with 6:13 left on the clock. The Bulldogs never got closer than nine points the rest of the way. Butler managed just two field goals and eight total points in the final six minutes of the contest. Kuric and Smith scored the last four points in the final minute to give Louisville its biggest margin of the contest. The Bulldogs were on top throughout the first half, and Louisville didn’t take its first lead in the game until Jared Swopshire hit a lay-up with three second remaining to give the Cardinals a 29-28 halftime advantage.
CAREER EFFORT: Sophomore Khyle Marshall (right) scored a career-high 20 points against Louisville and became the third different Butler player in as many games to lead the Bulldogs in scoring. Marshall hit eight of 13 shots from the field and four of five from the free throw line against the Cardinals to compile his game-high total. The 6-7 forward hit two of his first three shot attempts in the game, and then he finished by hitting four of five shots in the second half. He’s hit 11 of 16 field goal attempts in his two games in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season. Marshall also led the Bulldogs with six rebounds against Louisville.
Khyle Marshall currently ranks third in the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.700).
STRONG START: Junior Chase Stigall, who struggled with his shooting touch in the Bulldogs’ first two games this season, ignited Butler in the first half against Louisville. The 6-3 guard, one of two Butler starters back from last year’s NCAA national championship game, scored the first five points of the game and helped the Bulldogs grab a lead that they held for nearly 20 minutes. He hit his first four shots in the contest, including three from beyond the three-point arc. Stigall finished the first half with 11 points, matching his career-high set against Florida State last year. He attempted just two shots in the final 20 minutes and missed both.
HELPING OTHERS: Senior Ronald Nored, led all players on both teams with seven assists against Louisville. His total was one off his career-high, set against Wright State in 2010, and it boosted him into seventh place on Butler’s all-time assist chart. He moved ahead of both A. J. Graves (2004-08) and Mike Green (2006-08) on the Bulldogs’ all-time list, and he enters this week’s action just three assists shy of Avery Sheets (2002-06) in the No. 6 spot.
Butler All-Time Assist Chart
540 Thomas Jackson, 1998-2002
471 Tim Bowen, 1989-93
457 Jeff Rogers, 1994-98
411 Darrin Fitzgerald, 1983-87
357 Shelvin Mack, 2008-11
323 Avery Sheets, 2002-06
320 Ronald Nored, 2008-
316 Mike Green, 2006-08
316 A. J. Graves, 2004-08
310 Mike Monserez, 2001-04
LOW LEVELS: Butler led nearly the entire first half against No. 7 Louisville, without getting a single point from scoring leaders Andrew Smith and Chrishawn Hopkins. Smith, averaging 18.5 points heading into the game, sat out much of the first half in foul trouble, while Hopkins, averaging 17.0 points, missed all four of his first-half shots. Both players finished with a season-low four points.
LEAD CHANGE: Three different Butler players have topped the Bulldogs in scoring through the first three games this season. Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins, making his first appearance in Butler’s starting lineup, led the Bulldogs with a career-high 22 points at Evansville, while junior Andrew Smith, topped the squad with 16 points against Chattanooga. Sophomore Kyle Marshall stepped to the front with 20 points against Chattanooga. It was the first time in their respective careers that Hopkins and Marshall topped the Bulldogs in scoring, while Smith led Butler for the second time in his career.
Butler had five different players lead the team in scoring in a game last year.
GRAND LARCENY: Senior co-captain Ronald Nored chalked up a game-high three steals against Louisville, giving him 10 thefts in three games this season. The former Horizon League Co-Defensive Player of the Year also led the Bulldogs with three steals against Evansville and four against Chattanooga. The four steals against Chattanooga matched the second-highest total of his Butler career, trailing only his five steals performances against Syracuse in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and against Valparaiso in 2009. Nored, who’s been named to the Horizon League All-Defensive Team for two consecutive years, has topped the Bulldogs in steals for two straight seasons, and he’s heading into this week’s action with 151 career thefts. Butler’s all-time record is 207 steals, set by Thomas Jackson, 1998-02.
Ronald Nored has had two or more steals in 44 career games at Butler.
NEW SEASON: The Bulldogs have just two seniors, Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher, on this year’s squad and just five players who boast more than one season of experience. Gone from last year’s 28-10 team, which won the Horizon League regular season and tournament championships and advanced to the national title game for a second straight year, are starters Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack and Shawn Vanzant, top reserve Zach Hahn and four-year letterwinners Grant Leiendecker and Alex Anglin. Howard finished his career as Butler’s third all-time leading scorer and rebounder, while Mack was taken by the Washington Wizards in the second round of the NBA Draft. The six departures accounted for 64% of Butler’s scoring and 48% of the squad’s rebounding a year ago. This year’s squad features eight returning letterwinners and six freshmen.
COACHING LIST: Butler head coach Brad Stevens, who picked up his 118th career win against Chattanooga, owns the top spot on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Starts By Wins, 4 Years. The Bulldogs’ coach completed last season with a four-year record of 117-25, topping the previous four-year mark of 107-22 set by Everett Case of North Carolina State (1947-50). Stevens also holds the NCAA three-year record with 89 victories, and he’s second on the two-year list (56).
•Butler’s Ronald Nored is one of 30 candidates nominated for the 2011-12 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. Former teammate Matt Howard was one of 10 finalists for the award a year ago.
•Ronald Nored has been named to the 25-player Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team. The CollegeInsider.com team honors the top Mid-Major players in the nation. Nored joined Detroit’s Ray McCallum as the lone Horizon League players selected to this year’s preseason squad. Butler’s Matt Howard was named the Lou Henson Player of the Year last season.
•Ronald Nored is leading the Horizon League in assists (5.3) after three games. He’s tied for second in the league in steals (3.3).
•Junior Andrew Smith is fourth in the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.632) through the first three games this season. Smith finished second in the conference in field goal shooting a year ago with a .593 mark.
•Andrew Smith, who had just one three-point field goal attempt all of last year, has hit three of six long-range shots in Butler’s first three games this season.
•Andrew Smith was the lone Butler player named to the preseason All-Horizon League team. The 6-11 Butler center earned second team All-League recognition on the preseason squad chosen by league coaches, media an sports information directors.
•Junior Chase Stigall, who hit 40 three-point field goal a year ago, hit his first 2011-12 three-pointer in the closing minutes against Chattanooga. He then hit three more in the first half against Louisville.
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins is tied for seventh in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (2.0). Hopkins did not hit a three-pointer against Louisville.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall has had nine career double-figures scoring performances and five have come in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
•Freshman Kameron Woods, who hails from Louisville, came off the bench with five points, two rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes against the Cardinals. Woods is the top scorer among Butler’s non-starters (4.5).
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones played a career-high 17 minutes against Louisville, and he finished with career-highs of three assists and three steals in the game.
•Freshman Andrew Smeathers scored his first collegiate points with a three-point field goal against Louisville. Smeathers hit 61 three-pointers last season at Center Grove High School.
•The Bulldogs are 50-4 in regular season play under coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-point field goals in a game.
•Butler is one of just three NCAA Division I schools to win at least 25 games in each of the last five seasons. The other two are Kansas and BYU.
•Butler head coach Brad Stevens landed three recruits on the first day of the NCAA’s fall signing period. Joining the Bulldogs’ 2012-13 freshman class were 6-5 Kellen Dunham of Pendleton Heights, 6-3 Devontae Morgan of Tampa, Fla., and 5-11 Chris Harrison-Docks of Okemos, Mich. Dunham averaged 23.6 points and shot 43% from three-point range as a junior at Pendleton Heights High School, while Morgan averaged 17.3 points and 8.2 rebounds during his junior season at Tampa Prep. Harrison-Docks averaged 23.0 points at Okemos High School.