Butler Hosts State Foe Evansville
HOLIDAY HOOPS: Butler, coming off a stunning overtime victory over top-ranked Indiana, will close out its pre-Christmas schedule when it hosts state foe Evansville on Saturday, Dec. 22. The two long-time opponents will face each other at 2 p.m. (ET) in Hinkle Fieldhouse in a game that will be televised on WNDY-TV. The Bulldogs are returning to action after winning their fifth straight game and improving to 8-2 on the season with a dramatic 88-86 win over Indiana at the Close the Gap Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Evansville won its second straight game and climbed to 7-4 on the season with a 103-69 victory at home over Oakland City on Tuesday (Dec. 18). The Purple Aces have two straight wins over Butler.
HOME WORK: The Bulldogs, who are 4-0 in Hinkle Fieldhouse this year, have won at least 10 home games in each of the past 17 seasons. Butler was 13-6 in the Fieldhouse a year ago, and the Bulldogs are 169-25 at home since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
Butler is 73-11 in Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.
STATE RUN: Evansville is the fifth of five opponents from Indiana on Butler's pre-Christmas schedule. The Bulldogs defeated Hanover, Ball State, IUPUI and top-ranked Indiana in the first four games against Indiana foes this season.
Butler is 24-7 against teams from Indiana under coach Brad Stevens.
CLASSIC FINISH: Sophomore guard Alex Barlow only had two field goals in the game, but his second will go down as one of the biggest shots in Butler basketball history! The 5-11 guard hit a one-handed floater in the lane with two seconds remaining to lift Butler to an 88-86 overtime victory over previously unbeaten and top-ranked Indiana in the first game of the Close the Gap Crossroads Classic. The dramatic shot by the unlikely hero, a walk-on guard from Springboro, Ohio, gave Butler its first win in five tries against a No. 1-ranked team. Barlow's shot capped a Butler comeback that saw the Bulldogs overcome a four-point deficit in the final two minutes. Back-to-back three-point field goals by Rotnei Clarke and Chase Stigall gave the Bulldogs a two-point lead with 0:58 left. But Indiana's Cody Zeller tied the game at 86-86 with 0:19 remaining, setting the stage for Barlow's game-winner.
CONFERENCE HONOR: Sophomore Roosevelt Jones, who was called "the best player on the floor" by Butler head coach Brad Stevens following the Bulldogs' victory over Indiana, was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week, for the period December 10-16. Jones recorded his fifth career double-double with 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. He also led all players with seven assists and added a pair of blocked shots in 29 minutes of action. The 12 rebounds and two blocked shots each matched his previous career-high, while the seven assists were a new career-high. Jones hit six of 10 shots from the field and four of six from the free throw line in the win.
Roosevelt Jones was named High Major National Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com.
SENIOR MOMENT: With the Bulldogs trailing 84-80 and less than two minutes remaining in overtime, senior Chase Stigall stepped up with two of the biggest plays of his Butler career. The 6-3 guard rebounded his own missed shot and and passed back to teammate Rotnei Clarke, who drained a three-point field goal with 1:41 left to cut Indiana's lead to a single point. Forty-three seconds later, Stigall nailed his second three-pointer of the game to give Butler the lead with less than a minute remaining. Stigall finished with six points, two rebounds and an assist in 14 minutes of action.
LEAD ROLE: Butler senior Rotnei Clarke posted his eighth consecutive double-figures scoring performance and led all players with 19 points in Butler's victory over Indiana. He hit five three-point field goals in the win, including one that trimmed Indiana's once four-point lead to 84-83 with under two minutes remaining. It was the eighth time this season that he had at least four three-point field goals in a game. Clarke, who's scored in double-figures nine times in 10 games, has averaged 18.4 points over Butler's past eight 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 seven of the Bulldogs' first 10 games.
Rotnei Clarke leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (17.5 ppg).
BOARDING PLACE: Butler, led by sophomore Roosevelt Jones and senior Andrew Smith, finished with a 40-38 rebounding advantage over top-ranked Indiana. Jones led all players with 12 rebounds, while Smith finished second in the contest with nine boards. It was the first time this season that the Hoosiers were out-rebounded in a game. The Bulldogs, who lead the Atlantic 10 Conference in rebounding margin (+7.0), have had a rebounding advantage over their opponent in eight of their first 10 games this season. Butler leads the A-10 in offensive rebounding percentage (.405), while ranking second in the league in defensive rebounding percentage (.709).
POLLING DATA: Butler's victory over top-ranked Indiana vaulted the Bulldogs into the "Top 25" of both major national polls for the first time this season. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 19 in this week's Associated Press Poll and No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Butler has appeared in the national "Top 25" in six of the past seven seasons.
ELITE GROUP: Only two schools have multiple wins this season against NCAA Division I teams ranked in the "Top 25" - Butler and Duke.
•Butler entered the week as the top-scoring team in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bulldogs topped the circuit with a 74.9 scoring average.
•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 (.549).
•Andrew Smith played in his 100th career game in Butler's season-opener. Smith has started 77 of Butler's last 79 games, including both Final Four games in 2011.
•Andrew Smith averaged 18.0 points and 9.5 rebounds against Butler's two Big 10 foes, Indiana and Northwestern.
•Andrew Smith scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Evansville last year.
*Senior Rotnei Clarke has been named to the watch list for the 2013 Bob Cousy Award, presented to the nation's top point-guard.Finalists will be announced in January.
•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 second in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (4.1).
•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 22 collegiate games, dating back to his final season at Arkansas.
•Rotnei Clarke nailed a season-high 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 eighth in the A-10 and 24th in the NCAA in three-point field goal percentage (.451).
•Senior Chase Stigall needs one three 3-point field goal to reach 100 for his career.
•Forward Khyle Marshall has averaged 13.1 points in Butler's eight wins, but just 7.5 points in the Bulldogs' two losses.
•Junior Erik Fromm came off the bench with 10 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal against Indiana. The Butler forward lives just three miles from the Indiana campus.
•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones leads the Bulldogs in both assists (36) and steals (13).
•Roosevelt Jones did not play against Evansville last year because of injury.
•Sophomore Alex Barlow scored a career-high six points in Butler's victory over top-ranked Indiana.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham leads the A-10 and ranks ninth in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.944).
•Kellen Dunham had a streak of 26 consecutive free throws made snapped in the win over Indiana.
•Butler has four "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, prior to beating #1 Indiana.
•The Bulldogs are 4-1 against Indiana in the last five games played in Indianapolis.
•Butler has won its last 13 games when holding its opponent under 60 points.
•Butler is 57-6 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.
ON THIS DATE: A. J. Graves scored 22 points and Mike Green added 16 to lead Butler to a 76-65 victory over Evansville at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Dec. 22, 2006. Senior forward Brandon Crone chipped in with 15 points, including 13 in the first half, and a game-high eight rebounds. Guard Jason Holsinger led four Evansville players in double-figures with 17 points.
FROM THE ARCHIVES:
With perhaps the most impressive shooting performance in Butler basketball history, Bobby Plump scored 41 points to lead Butler past Evansville, 101-76, at Hinkle Fieldhouse. It was the first time a Butler team hit the century mark. Plump connected on 12 of 15 shots from the field and a school-record 17 of 17 from the free throw line.