December 13, 2012

Bulldogs Face Top-Ranked Indiana

Butler vs. #1 Indiana
Saturday, December 15, 2 p.m. (ET)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, Ind.

CLASSIC MATCH:  Butler will face a team ranked No. 1 for just the fifth time when it plays top-ranked Indiana in the first game of the Close the Gap Crossroads Classic on Saturday, Dec. 15.  The 2 p.m. (ET) game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis will be televised nationally on CBS.  The Bulldogs, off to a 7-2 start and riding a four-game winning streak, will be playing their second consecutive opponent from the Big Ten. Butler picked up its first road victory of the season with a 74-65 win at Northwestern on Saturday (Dec. 8).  The match-up with Indiana (9-0) will be Butler's first against a top-ranked team since Dec. 3, 2010, when the Bulldogs dropped an 82-70 decision to No. 1 Duke at the IZOD Center in New Jersey.  Butler also played No. 1 DePaul in 1979-80, falling 103-79, No. 1 Michigan in 1964-65, dropping a 99-81 decision, and No. 1 Indiana in 1953-54, losing 76-57.  The Bulldogs picked up a win over Purdue, 67-65, in the first Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse a year ago.           
                  
Butler has won five straight games in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

BIG TEN:  Indiana will be the third team from the Big Ten that Butler has faced this season.  The Bulldogs fell to unbeaten Illinois in the championship game of the Maui Invitational, before posting a road win at Northwestern last weekend.  Butler also has faced teams from the ACC (North Carolina) and the Big East (Marquette).     

Butler is 9-4 against teams from the Big Ten under coach Brad Stevens.

LAST OUTING:  Butler, playing just its second true road game, grabbed the lead with just over six minutes remaining in the first half and held on to it, while going on to post a nine-point victory at Northwestern, 74-65.  The two teams took turns holding the upper hand through the first 14 minutes of the contest, before sophomore Roosevelt Jones converted a conventional three-point play to put the Bulldogs on top for good, 26-24.  Ahead 34-31 at halftime, the Bulldogs opened the second half with a steal and lay-up by sophomore Alex Barlow and a three-point field goal by senior Rotnei Clarke to stretch the margin to eight points, 39-31.  The Bulldogs' lead reached double-figures at 53-42 on a three-point play by senior Andrew Smith with 8:24 remaining, and Butler held off a late Northwestern comeback attempt by converting 10 of 10 free throws in the game's final 1:09.    
 
BIG LIFT:  Butler pulled away from Northwestern with a second half surge fueled by 6-11 senior Andrew Smith (left).  The Butler center scored 19 of his game-high 24 points in the final 20 minutes, hitting six of eight shots from the field and seven of nine from the free throw line after intermission.  He scored nine consecutive Butler points to stretch a 44-39 Butler lead to 53-42 with 8:24 left.  Smith also pulled down seven of his game-high 10 rebounds in the final period.  It was the fifth double-double of his collegiate career, and his first this season.  Smith, who had reached double-figures in scoring in just two of Butler's first five games, has now scored 10 or more points in each of the Bulldogs' last four outings.  His 24 points against Northwestern were the second-most of his Butler career.  

Andrew Smith has averaged 15.0 points over Butler's four-game winning streak.

POINT POSITION:  Butler senior Rotnei Clarke posted his seventh consecutive double-figures scoring performance with 13 points at Northwestern.  He only attempted eight shots in the game, but hit four of six from beyond the three-point arc.  It was the seventh time this season that he had at least four three-point field goals in a game.  Clarke, who's scored in double-figures eight times this season, has averaged 18.3 points over Butler's past seven contests, including a season-high 27 points against Illinois in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.  He's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in six of the Bulldogs' first nine games.  

Rotnei Clarke ranks third in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (17.3 ppg).

LEAGUE HONOR:  Freshman Kellen Dunham, who averaged 14.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in Butler's victories over IUPUI and Northwestern, was named Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week, for the period December 3-9.  Dunham came off the bench to share Butler's scoring lead with 17 points against IUPUI.  He then posted 11 points and matched his career-high with five rebounds in the Bulldogs' win at Northwestern.  The 6-6 guard hit six of six free throws in the final minute to help the Bulldogs secure the road win.  It was the second time this season that Dunham was honored as A-10 Rookie of the Week.

Kellen Dunham leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in free throw shooting (.969).

TAKE AWAY:  The Bulldogs have recorded 33 steals in the past three games, including nine in their victory at Northwestern.  Three days earlier, eight different players contributed to a season-high 14 steals for the Bulldogs in a 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.  

BOARD ROOM:  Butler continues to lead the Atlantic 10 Conference in rebounding margin (+7.5).  The Bulldogs, who out-rebounded Northwestern, 40-34, have had a rebounding advantage over their opponent in seven of their first nine games this season.  Butler leads the A-10 in both offensive rebounding percentage (.394) and defensive rebounding percentage (.732).

UNBEATEN:  Butler is facing an unbeaten opponent for the seventh time this season.  The Bulldogs have handed five different teams their first 2012-13 loss.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler is receiving votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll.  The Bulldogs are 34th in the A.P. poll and 32nd in the coaches' poll.

•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 (.548).

•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.

•Andrew Smith had a career-high eight offensive rebounds in Butler's victory at Northwestern.

•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.  He had his 100th career start one game later at Northwestern.

•Rotnei Clarke leads the Atlantic 10 Conference and ranks third in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (4.0).

•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 21 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 #4 Pittsburgh.

•Rotnei Clarke ranks 10th in the A-10 and 33rd in the NCAA in three-point field goal percentage (.450).

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

•Forward Khyle Marshall has averaged 13.4 points in Butler's seven wins, but just 7.5 points in the Bulldogs' two losses.

•Khyle Marshall had a career-high three steals at Northwestern.

•Junior Erik Fromm came off the bench with a career-high eight rebounds at Northwestern.

•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones leads the Bulldogs in both assists (29) and steals (13).  

•Sophomore Alex Barlow tied his career-high with four assists in a career-high 24 minutes at Northwestern.

•Freshman Kellen Dunham ranks second in Division I in free throw shooting (.969).

•Kellen Dunham has connected on his last 25 free throw attempts.

•Butler has three "Top 10" wins under head coach Brad Stevens.  The Bulldogs defeated #4 Syracuse and #7 Kansas State in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and #4 Pittsburgh in the 2011 national tournament.

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

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