December 7, 2012

Butler Begins Big Ten Stretch At Northwestern

Butler (6-2) at Northwestern (7-2)
Saturday, December 8, 7 p.m. (CT)
Welsh-Ryan Arena - Evanston, Ill.
Big Ten Network | Audio

ROAD TRIP:  Butler will make its lone 2011-12 visit to Illinois and will play the first of consecutive Big Ten teams when it travels to Evanston, Ill., to take on Northwestern on Saturday, Dec. 8.  The game at Welsh-Ryan Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT, 8 p.m. in Indianapolis) and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.  The Bulldogs are riding their longest winning streak of the young season with victories over state foes Hanover, Ball State and IUPUI in their recent three-game homestand.  Those three decisions at Hinkle Fieldhouse lifted Butler to 6-2 on the year, including wins in five of the past six contests.  Butler saved its best for the final game of the homestand, posting a convincing wire-to-wire victory over IUPUI, 87-55.  Northwestern improved to 7-2 on the year with an impressive victory at Baylor, 74-70.  The Wildcats opened the 2011-12 season with four straight wins in Welsh-Ryan Arena, before dropping their last two home games to Maryland and UIC.  Following the Northwestern game, Butler will take a week off for final exams, before returning to the court against another Big Ten team, top-ranked Indiana, at the Close the Gap Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 15.            
                  
Butler has won its last three meetings with Northwestern.

BIG SIX:  Northwestern will be the fourth team from the "big six" BCS conferences that Butler has faced this season.  The Bulldogs defeated both Marquette (Big East) and North Carolina (ACC) at the Maui Invitational, before falling to Illinois (Big 10).     

Butler is 8-4 against teams from the Big Ten under coach Brad Stevens.

LAST OUTING:  Butler limited IUPUI to just one field goal in the first nine minutes of the contest and pulled away to a 20-2 lead in the non-conference tilt at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday (Dec. 5).  The visiting Jaguars  never got closer than 16 points the rest of the contest.  The Bulldogs, behind 60% (18-30)shooting from the field, stretched their lead to 52-21 by halftime and then added another point on that margin in the second half.  Butler's biggest lead came at 85-48 on a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Jackson Aldridge with 3:35 left in the contest.  The 87-55 final tally was Butler's largest margin of victory this season.   
 
Butler has won its last three games by an average of 23.3 points.
 
EXPLOSIVE START:  The Bulldogs missed five of their first eight shots against IUPUI, but then stormed back to connect on 15 of 22 shots, including nine of 11 (.818) from beyond the three-point arc!  The hot shooting  resulted in Butler totaling 52 points in the first 20 minutes.  The 52 points were the most scored by a Butler team in the first half since Dec. 8, 2001, when the Bulldogs exploded for 58 points in a victory over Evansville at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  

THEFT RING:  Eight different players contributed to a season-high 14 steals for the Bulldogs in the victory over IUPUI.  That was the highest theft total for a Butler team since Dec. 18, 2000, when the Bulldogs compiled 15 steals in a victory over Tennessee-Martin.  The 14 steals against IUPUI topped Butler's previous season-high of ten thefts, set four days earlier in a victory over Ball State.  

Butler has out-scored its last two opponents, 49-13, on points off turnover.

SCORING COLUMN:  Butler guard Rotnei Clarke, who's played just eight games in a Butler uniform since transferring from Arkansas, posted his sixth consecutive double-figures scoring performance while sharing the team scoring lead with 17 points against IUPUI.  It was the fifth straight game that he had at least a piece of Butler's scoring lead and the sixth time overall this season that he topped the Bulldogs.  Clarke, who has seven double-figures scoring performances this season, has averaged 19.2 points over Butler's past six games, including a season-high 27 points against Illinois in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.  

Rotnei Clarke ranks third in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (17.9 ppg).

SHARP-SHOOTING:  Senior Rotnei Clarke and freshman Kellen Dunham combined to hit seven of 10 three-point field goals against IUPUI.  Clarke, who leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in three-point field goals (32), led the way by hitting four of six three-pointers, while Dunham came off the bench to add three of five.  As a team, the Bulldogs connected on a season-best 11 of 21 (.524) shots from three-point range.    

Rotnei Clarke is tied for third in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals (4.0 pg).

SUCCESS FACTOR:  Junior forward Khyle Marshall posted this third consecutive game in double-figures with 10 points in Butler's win over IUPUI. That followed his 19-point performance against Hanover and a 10-point effort against Ball State.  Butler improved to 6-0 this season when Marshall scores in double-figures.  He is averaging 14.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in the Bulldogs' six wins, but just 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in Butler's two setbacks.

SPECIAL DELIVERY:  Paced by sophomore guard Jackson Aldridge, Butler compiled a season-high 21 assists on 30 field goals against IUPUI.  The last time the Bulldogs had more assists in a game was a year ago, when they compiled 26 assists in a victory over Oakland City.  The last time Butler had  more assists against a Division I foe was in 2010, when the Bulldogs had 23 assists in a win over Youngstown State.  Aldridge came off the bench to record a career-high five assists in 16 minutes of action against the Jaguars.  

BOARDING PLACE:  Butler continues to lead the Atlantic 10 Conference in rebounding margin (+7.7).  The Bulldogs, who out-rebounded IUPUI, 29-21, have had a rebounding advantage over their opponent in six of their first eight games this season.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler is receiving votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll.  The Bulldogs are 35th in the A.P. poll and 37th in the coaches' poll.

•Butler's 11 three-point field goals against IUPUI were the second-most by the Bulldogs this season.  The Bulldogs connected on 12 three-pointers in their victory over #9 North Carolina at the Maui Invitational.

•Butler is 56-6 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.

•Senior Andrew Smith is the only current college basketball player who has played in two Division I national championship games.

•Andrew Smith stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal percentage (.545).

•Andrew Smith played in his 100th career game in Butler's season-opener.  Smith has started 76 of Butler's last 78 games, including both Final Four games in 2011.

•Senior Rotnei Clarke is one of 50 players named to the Atlanta Tipoff Club 2012-13 Naismith Early Season Watch List.

•Rotnei Clarke played in his 100th career game in Butler's win over IUPUI.

•Rotnei Clarke's 27 points against Illinois in the championship game of the Maui Invitational were the most by a Butler player since the 2011 NCAA Tournament, when Shelvin Mack scored 27 points against Florida in the championship game of the Southeast Regional.

•Rotnei Clarke has averaged 3.1 three-point field goals per game for his career.

•Rotnei Clarke has hit a three-point field goal in each of his last 20 collegiate games, dating back to his final season at Arkansas.

•Rotnei Clarke nailed six three-point field goals against Illinois at the Maui Invitational.  It was the most by a Butler player since the third round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament when Shelvin Mack connected on seven three-pointers in a victory over Pittsburgh.

•Senior Chase Stigall is three three-point field goals shy of 100 for his career.

•Forward Khyle Marshall is tied for seventh in the Atlantic 10 Conference in offensive rebounds (2.8).

•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones recorded a career-high five steals to pace the Bulldogs against IUPUI.  

•Sophomore Kameron Woods came off the bench with six points and five rebounds in 15 minutes against IUPUI.

•Freshman Kellen Dunham leads the Atlantic 10 Conference and ranks sixth in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.962).

•Kellen Dunham has connected on his last 19 free throw attempts.

•Kellen Dunham came off the bench and shared Butler's scoring lead against IUPUI with 17 points.  It was his fifth double-figures scoring performance in eight games and the third time he's been Butler's leading scorer.

•Freshman Devontae Morgan turned in the No. 1 Play of the Day on ESPN's SportsCenter with his second half alley-oop dunk against IUPUI.

•Head coach Brad Stevens stands third on Butler's all-time list for coaching wins with 145 victories in his five-plus seasons.  Butler Athletic Director Barry Collier is second on the all-time list with 196 wins, 1989-2000.

•Butler has won its last 13 games when holding its opponent under 60 points.

•Butler ranks second in the Atlantic 10 Conference in team scoring offense (73.4).

•The Bulldogs lead the A-10 in defensive rebounding percentage (.759).