Butler will close out its pre-Christmas slate and wrap up a
two-game West Coast trip when it faces Stanford on Thursday, Dec.
22. The game at Maples Pavilion on the Stanford campus is
slated to start at 6 p.m. (PT, 9 p.m. in Indianapolis) and will be
televised on Fox Sports Net. The Bulldogs (5-7) began their
current trip at Gonzaga on Tuesday (Dec. 20), dropping a 71-55
decision. It was Butler’s fourth setback in five games,
with the lone victory coming over Purdue, 67-65. Stanford
picked up its fifth consecutive win and improved to 10-1
overall with a victory over Bethune-Cookman, 75-56, on Monday (Dec.
19). The Cardinal has rolled over seven consecutive opponents
in the Maples Pavilion, winning at home by an average margin
of 21.7 points! Overall, nine of Stanford’s 10 wins
have come by double-digit margins. The Bulldogs will be
meeting Stanford for just the third time overall and for the first
time at Maples Pavilion. The two teams split their first two
meetings, with Butler taking an 83-50 decision at Hinkle Fieldhouse
Butler is looking for its first “road” win since the title game of the 2011 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship at Milwaukee.
CHALLENGING SLATE: Butler is wrapping up a five-game stretch featuring four teams that are being mentioned in the national polls. The Bulldogs, coming off games with #8 Xavier, Ball State, Purdue and Gonzaga, will close the pre-Christmas slate at once-beaten Stanford. Purdue, Gonzaga and Stanford each have been receiving votes in the national polls. Butler has already played No. 7 Louisville and unbeaten Indiana (ranked No. 17 in this week’s national poll).
Butler’s last six Division I opponents boast a current combined 51-13 record.
FINAL CHECK: Butler’s game at Stanford will close out the Bulldogs’ pre-Horizon League slate. The Bulldogs will take a brief break for Christmas and then return to action with a pair of league games at home. Butler will host Green Bay on Thursday (Dec. 29) and Milwaukee on Saturday (Dec. 31). The Bulldogs have won or shared the last five Horizon League regular season championships and have captured three of the last four league tournament titles. Butler owns ten league regular season championships since 1996-97.
DIGGING OUT: Butler fell behind by 10 points at halftime at Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the game. Gonzaga shot 52% from the field in the first 20 minutes, including 50% (5-10) from beyond the three-point arc, to build its early margin. But did cut the lead to six points on three occasions in the second half, the last coming at 51-45 with just under 10 minutes remaining, but the host squad held off the comeback attempt and finished the game on a 12-3 run for the final margin.
Butler has trailed at halftime in its last nine Division I games.
CHARITABLE CONSIDERATION: Butler’s offensive efforts at Gonzaga were hampered by an inability to get to the free throw line. The Bulldogs shot a season-low four free throws in the game, hitting just one. Gonzaga enjoyed a 14-1 advantage in free throw scoring in the game. Butler entered the Gonzaga contest averaging 23.7 free throw attempts per game.
FIRST SHOT: Sophomore Erik Fromm (right) was in Butler’s starting lineup for the first time in his young collegiate career at Gonzaga, and he made the most of his opportunity. The 6-8 forward gave Butler an early lead with a three-point field goal just 28 seconds into the game, and he wound up leading the Bulldogs in scoring with a career-high 16 points. He hit six of 11 shots in the game, including four of six from beyond the three-point arc. It was just the second double-figures scoring performance of his Butler career. Fromm came off the bench one game earlier and scored nine points in Butler’s victory over Purdue at the Crossroads Classic.
SCORING VARIETY: Erik Fromm became the ninth different Butler player to lead or share the team lead in scoring in the first 12 games this season. Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins has led the Bulldogs outright in three games this year, while junior Andrew Smith has topped the team alone twice and shared the team scoring lead once. Sophomore Khyle Marshall has led the Bulldogs twice, while senior Ronald Nored and freshman Andrew Smeathers each have finished on top once. Junior Chase Stigall and freshman Roosevelt Jones shared Butler’s scoring lead against #8 Xavier, while freshman Kameron Woods shared the team lead with Smith against Purdue.
TOP PRODUCER: Sophomore Khyle Marshall had his second double-figures scoring performance in three games with 10 points in 20 minutes at Gonzaga. Marshall, who had a career-high 21 points at Ball State on Dec. 10, is the lone Butler player averaging in double-figures on the season (10.3 ppg).
LINEUP CHANGE: Butler head coach Brad Stevens unveiled his fourth different starting lineup in the past four games with the quintet of Khyle Marshall, Eric Fromm, Roosevelt Jones, Ronald Nored and Jackson Aldridge taking the floor for the start of the game at Gonzaga. The Bulldogs have used six different starting units through this year’s first dozen games. Only Nored has started all 12 games this season.
ASSIST CLIMB: Ronald Nored, who took over the No. 5 spot on Butler’s all-time assist chart with three assists against Purdue, boosted his career total with a team-high five assists at Gonzaga. He currently has 363 career assists, six ahead of current Washington Wizards guard Shelvin Mack (2008-11) in the No. 6 spot on the all-time list.
Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assists (4.9).
STEAL TOWN: Ronald Nored heads into Butler’s game at Stanford in fourth place on Butler’s all-time list for steals with 168 career thefts. Darren Fowlkes stands third on the all-time list with 176 steals from 1985-89. Butler’s all-time record for steals in 207, set by Thomas Jackson, 1998-2002.
Ronald Nored is second among active players in the Horizon League in career steals.
•Butler is 3-0 under head coach Brad Stevens against teams from the Pac-12. The Bulldogs defeated UCLA in 2009-10 and then beat both Stanford and Washington State last season.
•Junior Andrew Smith was named Horizon League Player of the Week for his performance against Purdue. Smith finished the game with 12 points, six rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal, and he had the game-winning tip-in with 0:01 remaining. He’s the first Butler player to earn league Player of the Week honors this season.
•Andrew Smith was chosen as National High-Major Player of the Week by the website College Sports Madness following Butler’s win over Purdue.
•Andrew Smith came off the bench at Gonzaga for the first time this season, and he wound up sharing the team lead in rebounds with seven.
•Andrew Smith ranks eighth in the Horizon League in rebounding (6.3). He stands fourth in the league in offensive rebounds (2.8).
•Andrew Smith has averaged 12.8 points in Butler’s five wins this season, but just 7.0 points in the Bulldogs’ six losses.
•Andrew Smith had 10 points and five rebounds as a starter against Stanford last year.
•Senior Ronald Nored made his 100th career start in Butler’s win over Purdue. He’s played in 118 career games.
•Ronald Nored is second in the Horizon League in assist/turnover ratio (1.8).
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in steals (2.3). Nored has had three or more steals in six of Butler’s 12 games this season.
•Ronald Nored is the active career leader in assists in the Horizon League with 363.
•Junior Chase Stigall, who is tied for third in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (2.2), has hit at least one three-pointer in 11 consecutive games.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall, who hit five of nine shots at Gonzaga, is the lone Butler player shooting better than 50% from the field this season. Marshall ranks third in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.571).
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones shared the team lead in rebounding at Gonzaga with seven. He added seven points and three assists.
•Roosevelt Jones ranks third in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (3.0). Freshman teammate Kameron Woods is eighth (2.5).
•Kameron Woods had a career-high three assists in a reserve role at Gonzaga. He also had eight points, five rebounds and a blocked shot in 20 minutes of action.
•The Bulldogs have taken over the Horizon League lead in offensive rebounds (14.3). Butler had 15 offensive rebounds at Gonzaga.