March 12, 2013

Butler Begins A-10 Tournament Play In New York

BUTLER VS. DAYTON
Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Thursday, March 14, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Barclays Center - Brooklyn, N.Y.

TOURNAMENT START:  Butler will begin play in its first Atlantic 10 Conference Men's Basketball Championship against a familiar foe when it faces Dayton on Thursday, March 14, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.  The two teams will square off in the second game of the opening round at 2:30 p.m. (ET), and the contest will be televised by NBC Sports Network.  Butler closed out the regular season with back-to-back wins at Massachusetts and over Xavier at home and finished in a tie for third place in the final A-10 season standings.  The Bulldogs (24-7, 11-5 A-10) wound up as the No. 5 seed in the tournament, based on the conference' tie-breaking formula.  Dayton (17-13, 7-9 A-10) dropped its final regular season game at George Washington, 81-80, and wound up as the No. 12 seed in the tournament.  The Bulldogs will be meeting Dayton for the 23rd time overall and for the second time this season.  Butler won the first meeting at Dayton, 79-73, in January.  The winner of the Butler-Dayton opening round game will meet La Salle in the tournament quarterfinals on Friday at 2:30 p.m.   

POLLING DATA:  Butler slipped from the "Top 25" of both the Associated Press and USA Today national basketball polls for the first time in 12 weeks, following it's loss at VCU.  The Bulldogs continue to receive votes in both of the national polls.  Butler's victory over No. 1 Indiana on Dec. 15 vaulted the Bulldogs into the "Top 25" of both national polls for the first time since November of 2010.  The Bulldogs joined the A.P. "Top 25" at No. 19 and the Coaches Poll at No. 25.

LAST OUTING:  The Bulldogs closed out their 2012-13 regular season slate with a 67-62 victory over Xavier at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  The victory came over a team that had beaten Butler, 62-47, in the second game of the season back on Nov. 13.  The Bulldogs, ahead by as many as 10 points in the second half, had to rally from a 54-50 deficit in the final five minutes of the contest to secure the victory.  Senior Rotnei Clarke hit a pair of free throws with 4:29 remaining to tie the game at 54-54, and then he scored on a lay-up 26 seconds later to give the Bulldogs a two-point lead.  Butler never trailed the rest of the way, but the game was tied three times in the closing minutes.  Freshman Kellen Dunham broke the last tie with a pair of free throws to give Butler a 62-60 lead with 0:43 left, and the Bulldogs held on by connecting on five of six free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds.     

FAMILIAR LEADER:  Senior Rotnei Clarke, who shared the team scoring lead with 17 points at Massachusetts, topped all scorers in the Bulldogs' win over Xavier with 21 points.  It was his 11th time in double-figures in the 12 games since his return from a neck injury that sidelined him for three-and-a-half games in January.  Clarke has scored in double-figures in 23 of his 28 games this season, and he's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 20 of those contests.  The Arkansas transfer has scored 20 or more points ten times this year, including a season-high 28 points at Saint Joseph's, and 22 times during his collegiate career.  
   
Butler is 9-1 when Rotnei Clarke scores 20 or more points.

BENCH LIFT:  Sophomore Kameron Woods is coming off the two best games of his young Butler career.  Woods came off the bench with a career-high 17 points to share team scoring honors at Massachusetts.  The 6-9 forward, who hit seven of 11 shots against the Minutemen, added three rebounds and a steal in just 21 minutes of action.  Two nights later, Woods had 15 points, five rebounds and a game-high three blocked shots in 21 minutes of action against Xavier.  Heading into the game at Massachusetts, Woods had scored a total of 15 points in Butler's previous five contests.

BOARD ROOM:  Senior Andrew Smith turned in a pair of team-leading rebounding performances to help the Bulldogs finish the regular season with back-to-back wins.  The 6-11 center recorded his third double-double of the season and the seventh of his career with 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds at Massachusetts.  He was just five rebounds shy of the entire UMass team, and he helped the Bulldogs to a commanding, 37-20, advantage on the boards.  He then shared the team lead in rebounding with five against Xavier.  Smith is Butler's second-leading rebounder on the season.

Andrew Smith has led Butler in rebounding in four of the past five games.
 
CHART CLIMBING:  Senior Andrew Smith became the 11th Butler player to record 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds in Butler's win at Massachusetts.  He enters the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament with 1,079 career points and 608 career rebounds.  The last Butler player to reach the 1,000 points/600 rebounds milestone was Matt Howard (2007-11), who finished his career with 1,939 points and 884 rebounds.  Smith and Howard were teammates for two seasons, helping Butler to back-to-back Final Four appearances.

QUICK START:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens has moved into a tie with Jamie Dixon of Pittsburgh for first place on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 6 Seasons.  The Bulldogs' coach boasts a 163-47 record in his five-plus seasons.  Stevens holds the NCAA three-year (89), four-year (117) and five-year (139) records, and he's second on the two-year (56) list.

TOP THREE:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens ranks third among active Division I coaches in career winning percentage with a .776 mark.  Only Roy Williams of North Carolina and Mark Few of Gonzaga have a higher career winning percentage.

TWENTY WINS:  The 2012-13 Bulldogs became the 19th Butler team to record 20 victories in a season with their win at George Washington on Feb. 9.  Butler has won at least 20 games in eight consecutive seasons and in 15 of the past 17 campaigns.  This year's team is tied for eighth on Butler's single season wins chart with 24 victories.  Brad Stevens has coached four of the previous seven Butler teams that have won at least 25 games.

NAISMITH FINALIST:  Senior Rotnei Clarke has been named one of the Top 30 Candidates for the 2013 Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award.  The 6-0 guard, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring, was among the finalists selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors.     The winner of this year's Naismith award will be announced on April 7 in Atlanta.   

BULLDOG BITS:

•Seniors Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall and Emerson Kampen stand fourth on Butler's list for Most Senior Class Wins with a four-year record of 107-37.

•Andrew Smith has  moved into seventh place on Butler's all-time list for games played with 129.  He trails A. J. Graves (2004-08) in sixth place by one game.

•Andrew Smith became the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points in the Bulldogs' victory over Rhode Island.  He currently stands 31st on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,079 career points, seven points behind Avery Sheets (2002-06) in the No. 30 position.

•Andrew Smith is tied for 15th in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.505).  His career shooting percentage of .534 ranks him 11th all-time at Butler.

•Senior Rotnei Clarke ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (16.7).  

•Rotnei Clarke leads the A-10 and ranks sixth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (3.5).  Clarke has had at least four three-pointers in a game 14 times this season.

•Rotnei Clarke has hit a 3-point field goal in each game that he's played this season.

•Rotnei Clarke ranks eighth in the A-10 and 30th in Division I in three-point field goal percentage (.417).

•Rotnei Clarke has taken over the lead in the A-10 in free throw shooting (.896).  Clarke has made his last 25 free throw attempts.

•Rotnei Clarke has moved into a tie with A. J. Graves (2006-07) for fifth place on Butler's single season list for three-point field goals with 98.  Pete Campbell (2007-08) stands fourth with 102.

•Junior Khyle Marshall hit eight of 10 shots and scored 20 points in Butler's wins at Massachusetts and over Xavier.  He scored in double-figures in three of Butler's final five regular season games.

•Butler is 15-1 this season when Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures.

•Khyle Marshall ranks fourth in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.561).

•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs with four assists against Xavier.  It was the 20th time this season that he's had at least a share of the team lead in assists.

•Sophomore Alex Barlow shared Butler's rebounding lead against Xavier with five.  It was the first time in his Butler career that he's had at least a share of the team's rebounding lead.

•Freshman Kellen Dunham ranks fourth in the A-10 free throw shooting (.875).

•Butler is ranked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference and tenth in the NCAA Division I in team rebounding margin (+7.7).  The Bulldogs have out-rebounded 13 of their last 15 opponents and 26 foes on the season.

•Butler is 60-7 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.

•The Bulldogs, at full strength, have only lost to two teams (Saint Louis and VCU) since the Maui Invitational.  Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke missed Butler's game at La Salle, while second-leading scorer Andrew Smith missed the Charlotte contest.

•Butler has beaten two of the top three teams in this week's national polls (#1 Gonzaga and #3 Indiana).  The Bulldogs also have victories over current #12/13 Marquette and former #9 (now #27/28) North Carolina this season.