November 25, 2011

Butler Wraps Up Hoosier Invitational At Indiana

Butler at Indiana
Sunday, November 27, 7 p.m.
Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
 Game Notes | Audio

STATE FINAL:  Butler will close out play in the Hoosier Invitational when its visits Indiana on Sunday, Nov. 27.  The game at Assembly Hall on the Indiana campus will tip at 7:06 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.  Both teams are unbeaten in the five-team Hoosier Invitational.  Butler (3-2) improved to 3-0 in the event with a come-from-behind, 68-66, victory over Gardner-Webb on Wednesday (Nov. 23).  The Bulldogs also defeated Chattanooga, 57-46, and Savannah State, 57-42, in the Hoosier Invitational.  Indiana, off to an impressive 5-0 start, won its games against Chattanooga, Savannah State and Gardner-Webb by an average of 26 points.  The Bulldogs will be playing at Assembly Hall for the first time since time since December of 2003.  Butler will return to Hinkle Fieldhouse to host Oakland City on Tuesday, Nov. 29.                    

Butler is 7-2 against teams from the Big Ten under head coach Brad Stevens.

HOOSIER INVITATIONAL:  The Hoosier Invitational, featuring five teams and three sites, wraps up with the Butler-Indiana game at Assembly Hall.  Chattanooga, Savannah State and Gardner-Webb each played at both Indiana and Butler to begin the event, before gathering this weekend at Chattanooga for a round-robin finale.  The Hoosier Invitational provided four pre-conference games for each team.

INITIAL MEETING:  Butler’s Brad Stevens will be facing Indiana for the first time as a head coach, but he was an assistant coach for the Bulldogs for four previous Butler-Indiana games.  The Bulldogs split those four games, winning 66-64 in the 2001 Hoosier Classic and 60-55 in the 2006 NIT Season Tip-Off.   
 
FRIENDLY FOES:  Butler’s game at Assembly Hall will be a reunion of sorts for several Bulldogs.  Sophomore Erik Fromm was a former teammate of Indiana’s Jordan Hulls at Bloomington South High School, while Butler’s Kameron Woods and Indiana’s Remy Abell were teammates at Eastern High School in Louisville, Ky.  Butler’s Andrew Smeathers and Indiana’s duo of Cody Zeller and Austin Etherington were teammates on the Indiana All-Star Team for the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Series (where they competed against Woods and Abell) last summer.  Etherington is the son of former Butler player Brett Etherington (1988-91).

STUNNING COMEBACK:  Butler fell behind, 50-35, at halftime to a hot-shooting Gardner-Webb team, and the visiting Runnin’ Bulldogs stretched that margin to 17 points with a basket in the first minute of the second half.  That’s when the host Bulldogs turned up the defensive pressure and mounted a remarkable comeback.  Butler held Gardner-Webb to just eight points in the first 14 minutes on the final period and just 16 total points for the entire half.  The visitors, who shot an incredible 77% (20-26) in the first half, including 80% (8-10) from beyond the three-point arc, made just six of 22 (27%) shots in the final period, including none in six attempts from the three-point arc.  Butler chipped away at the big deficit and eventually tied the game at 58-58 on a free throw by junior Andrew Smith with 6:42 left.  The host Bulldogs then took the lead for good at 63-60 on a three-point field goal by junior Chase Stigall with 4:20 remaining.
 
Butler has trailed at halftime in its last two wins.

DEFENSIVE TURNAROUND:  Gardner-Webb guards Max Landis and Jason Lawson combined to hit eight of nine three-point field goal attempts and score 26 points in the first half against Butler.  The Bulldogs then held the two points leaders scoreless over the final 20 minutes!  Senior Ronald Nored and junior Chase Stigall drew the assignment of defending the two Gardner-Webb backcourt players, and the Butler defenders limited Landis and Lawson to just four shots in the second half.  The 16 points scored by Gardner-Webb in the final 20 minutes were the fewest allowed in a half by Butler since Dec. 2, 2009, when the Bulldogs limited Ball State to 11 first half points.   

CAREER DAYS:  Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins and junior Chase Stigall (right) each recorded career scoring highs in Butler’s victory over Gardner-Webb.  Hopkins, a 6-1 guard who had just four total points in Butler’s two previous games, led both teams and matched his career-high with 22 points in the Bulldogs’ win.  He his seven of 14 shots from the floor, including two of four from beyond the three-point arc, and six of six from the free throw line.  The second-year guard tallied 11 points in each half.  Stigall nailed a career-best four three-point field goals and finished with a career-high 14 points.

Chrishawn Hopkins became the first Butler player to score 20 points twice this season.

PASSING FANCY:  Senior Ronald Nored, matched his season-high and led all players on both teams with seven assists, while committing no turnovers, against Gardner-Webb.  It was his fourth straight game this season with at least five assists. Nored currently stands in sixth place on Butler’s all-time assist chart.  He’s 25 assists shy of the “Top 5” on Butler’s career assist chart.

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
    332    Ronald Nored, 2008-
    323    Avery Sheets, 2002-06
    316    Mike Green, 2006-08
    316    A. J. Graves, 2004-08
    310    Mike Monserez, 2001-04
   
MAN OF STEAL:  Senior co-captain Ronald Nored has had three or more steals in four of Butler’s first five games.  The former Horizon League Co-Defensive Player of the Year led the Bulldogs with three steals against Evansville, four against Chattanooga, three against Louisville and four against Savannah State.  The four steals against Chattanooga and Savannah State 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 the Indiana game with 156 career thefts.  Butler’s all-time record is 207 steals, set by Thomas Jackson, 1998-02.

PROTECTIVE CUSTODY:  Butler had just one turnover in the second half against Gardner-Webb and just four turnovers for the entire game!  It was the fewest turnovers by a Butler team since Feb. 25, 2006, when the Bulldogs committed four turnovers against Detroit.  The last time the Bulldogs had fewer turnovers was on Jan. 25, 2003, when Butler finished with three against Green Bay.
                 
NEW YEAR:  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.

TOP COACH:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens, who picked up his 120th career win against Gardner-Webb, 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).

BULLDOG BITS:

•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.

•Junior Andrew Smith has scored in double-figures in all three of Butler’s Hoosier Invitational games.  Smith had a team-high 16 points against Chattanooga, and he scored 11 points each against Savannah State and Gardner-Webb.

•Andrew Smith, who attempted just one three-point field goal in his first two collegiate seasons, is currently third on the team in three-point field goals with four.

•Andrew Smith is leading the Bulldogs with 12 offensive rebounds this season.  He had three offensive boards in Butler’s victory over Gardner-Webb.

•Junior Chase Stigall has scored in double-figures in three consecutive games for the first time in his Butler career.  Stigall had 11 points against Louisville, 10 against Savannah State and 14 against Gardner-Webb in a five-day period.  The 6-3 guard had two double-figures scoring performances all of last season.

•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins, who hit a career-best six of six free throws against Gardner-Webb, has taken over the team lead in free throw shooting (.857).  He’s made his last nine charity attempts.

•Senior co-captain Garrett Butcher, who grew up in the shadows of Indiana in Ellettsville, was credited by head coach Brad Stevens with sparking Butler’s defensive effort in the second half against Gardner-Webb.  “We don’t win the game without Butch,” Stevens said after the game.  Butcher had three points, two rebounds and a steal in 12 minutes in the second half.

•Freshman Jackson Aldridge followed his career-high 10-point performance against Savannah State with seven points in Butler’s win over Gardner-Webb.  Aldridge had just seven total points in Butler’s first three games this season.

•Butler assistant coach Michael Lewis, Indiana’s all-time leader in assists, is making his first appearance in Assembly Hall as an opposing coach.  Lewis played for the Hoosiers from 1997 to 2000 and compiled 545 career assists.

•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.