BUTLER (9-2) vs. NJIT (6-8)
Saturday, December 28, 1 p.m. (ET)
Hinkle Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, Ind.
TV: Fox Sports 2
Radio: 1070 AM/107.5 FM
NON-CONFERENCE WRAP: Butler will face its final test before the start of BIG EAST Conference play when it hosts New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on Saturday, Dec. 28. The non-conference contest is scheduled for 1 p.m., at Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be televised on Fox Sports 2. Butler (9-2) is returning to action after a short holiday break. The Bulldogs picked up their fourth straight win with a 68-59 victory at Evansville in their final pre-Christmas game on Dec. 21. That win lifted Butler to 8-0 in games played in the state of Indiana this season. NJIT (6-8), making its first visit to Hinkle Fieldhouse, is trying to snap a four-game slide. The Highlanders dropped their last outing at St. Francis Brooklyn, 77-65, on Dec. 23. NJIT, located in Newark, N.J., is the lone independent institution competing in the NCAA Division I in 2013-14. The Highlanders' former league, the Big West Conference, dissolved last summer. Following the game with NJIT, Butler will prepare for its BIG EAST Conference opener. The Bulldogs will host #8 Villanova at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on New Year's Eve.
Butler is 9-2 for the second consecutive year.
HOME RETURN: The Bulldogs, who have played six of the last eight games away from home, are returning to Hinkle Fieldhouse for four of their next five contests. Butler has won 24 of the last 27 games its played in Hinkle Fieldhouse, including all five this year. The Bulldogs have won at least 10 home games in each of the past 18 seasons, including 14 (of 16) a year ago.
Butler is 231-34 in Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1995-96 season.
LATE CHARGE: Butler needed a strong second half performance, fueled by junior point-guard Alex Barlow, to claim a 69-58 victory at Evansville in the final pre-Christmas game for both teams. The host Aces, who led 32-29 at halftime, were clinging to a 41-40 advantage when Barlow sparked the decisive Butler surge. The 5-11 junior nailed a three-point field goal to give the Bulldogs a 43-41 lead, and then he found teammate Kellen Dunham open for a three-pointer to make it 46-41. Barlow then capped an 8-0 Butler run with a steal and a lay-up, and Evansville was left playing catch-up in the final eight minutes. It was Butler's first victory in the three-year-old Ford Center.
Butler has out-scored eight of its 11 opponents in the second half this season.
CONFERENCE HONOR: Junior Alex Barlow turned in a career-best performance at Evansville, and his effort earned him a spot on the BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll. Barlow scored a career-high 16 points, pulled down eight rebounds and recorded four steals to help power Butler in the non-conference win over the Purple Aces. His totals for rebounds and steals were the second-highest of his career. The 5-11 floor-leader hit all three shots he attempted and scored 11 points in the second half, when Butler pulled away for the victory. It was the first time in his career that the former walk-on led the Bulldogs in scoring, and it was just the fourth time that he tallied double-figures. Barlow has had three of his four career double-figures' scoring performances in Butler's last eight games.
POINTS LEADER: Sophomore Kellen Dunham, hounded by a relentless Evansville defensive effort, had his streak of leading the Bulldogs in scoring snapped at four straight games. But the 6-6 guard still managed to record his fifth straight double-figures' scoring performance with 15 points against the Aces. Dunham, a former Indiana High School scoring leader, has posted three of his top four career scoring performances in Butler's last seven outings. He had a career-best 32 points against Washington State at the Old Spice Classic in Florida, and then he returned to Hinkle Fieldhouse to score 29 points against North Dakota. Dunham added a 25-point performance against Purdue at the Crossroads Classic. The second-year player owns five of Butler's top eight single game scoring performances this season.
Kellen Dunham ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in scoring (18.9 ppg).
SCORING STREAK: Senior Khyle Marshall has strung together five consecutive double-figures' scoring performances for the first time in his successful Butler career. The Bulldogs' second-leading scorer posted 12 points at Evansville, including eight in the final five-and-a-half minutes. In his four previous games, Marshall scored 18 points against Purdue, 14 against Manchester, 21 against North Dakota and 17 against LSU. Previously, Marshall had reached double-figures in three straight games on three different occasions. The 6-6 forward has scored 10 or more points in nine of 11 games this season.
MOVING UP: Khyle Marshall, who became the 15th Butler player to reach both 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds during the Bulldogs' trip to the Old Spice Classic in Florida, moved into 31st place on Butler's all-time scoring list during Butler's win at Evansville. The 6-6 forward boosted his career scoring total to 1,093 points and moved ahead of Avery Sheets (1,085 points, 2002-06) on the all-time. He currently trails Joel Cornette, 1999-2003, in the No. 30 spot by seven points. Marshall also ranks 21st on Butler's all-time rebounding chart with 534 career rebounds. He's 14 rebounds behind Dave Sanders, 1962-65, in the No. 20 spot.
GLASS CLEANER: Junior Kameron Woods, continued his rebounding dominance for the Bulldogs, posting a career-high 13 caroms in Butler's win at Evansville. His effort helped Butler to a season-high 49 rebounds and a commanding, 49-31, rebounding advantage over the Purple Aces. Woods shared the team lead with three offensive rebounds, and he pulled down a team-high ten defensive boards. It was the sixth time he's reached double-figures in rebounds this season, and his total topped his previous career-best set against Evansville in 2012-13 and Purdue this season. Woods has grabbed at least nine rebounds in nine of Butler's last ten games.
Kameron Woods leads the BIG EAST in rebounding (9.5 ppg).
•Khyle Marshall scored his 1,000th career point against Washington State and pulled down his 500th career rebound against Oklahoma State at the Old Spice Classic.
•Khyle Marshall has started 52 of Butler's last 53 games. He did not start on Butler's "Senior Day" a year ago.
•Khyle Marshall stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal shooting (.550).
•Kyle Marshall ranks fourth in the BIG EAST Conference in field goal shooting (.566).
•Khyle Marshall ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in scoring (16.6).
•Khyle Marshall stands ninth in the BIG EAST in rebounding (6.8). He's second in the conference in offensive rebounds (3.4).
•Butler is 39-10 all-time when Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures. The Bulldogs are 23-2 in Marshall's last 25 games in twin-digits.
•Khyle Marshall and Erik Fromm are the last remaining players from Butler's Final Four team of 2011. Marshall played in both Butler games at the 2011 Final Four in Houston, Texas.
•Erik Fromm matched his season-high with seven rebounds at Evansville.
•Kameron Woods leads the BIG EAST in defensive rebounds (7.0). He ranks eighth in offensive rebounds (2.5).
•Kameron Woods stands sixth in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (.542).
•Kameron Woods, who blocked a pair of shots at Evansville, ranks sixth in the BIG EAST in blocked shots (1.3).
•Kameron Woods matched his career-highs for free throws made (4) and free throws attempted (7) in Butler's win at Evansville.
•Kameron Woods narrowly missed his fourth double-double of the season with eight points and 13 rebounds at Evansville.
•Alex Barlow had career-highs for field goals (5), field goal attempts (12) and three-point field goal attempts (7) at Evansville.
•Alex Barlow is third in the BIG EAST and 23rd in the NCAA Division I in steals (2.4). Barlow has recorded nine steals in Butler's last two games.
•Alex Barlow ranks third in the BIG EAST aassist/turnover ratio (2.8). Barlow has 36 assists and 13 turnovers in 11 games.
•Alex Barlow stands 11th in the BIG EAST in assists (3.3). He shared Butler's lead at Evansville with a pair of assists.
•Kellen Dunham, who hit three of seven shots from three-point range at Evansville, currently ranks fourth in the BIG EAST and 19th in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goal shooting (.471).
•Kellen Dunham is tied for second in the BIG EAST in three-point field goals (3.0).
•Butler is 30-8 all-time in games in which Kellen Dunham has hit a three-point field goal.
•Kellen Dunham stands second in the BIG EAST in minutes played (35.6). He played all 40 minutes at Evansville.
•Kellen Dunham has led Butler in scoring in the Bulldogs' last two games in Hinkle Fieldhouse. He's topped the Bulldogs in three of five home games this season.
•Andrew Chrabascz came off the bench and matched his career-high with seven points at Evansville. He had career-highs for field goals (3) and field goal attempts (5) in the Butler win.
•Butler had eight steals in the the victory at Evansville. The Bulldogs currently rank second in the BIG EAST in steals (7.5).
•The Bulldogs lead the BIG EAST and are ranked 24th in the NCAA Division I in fewest turnovers per game (10.2). Butler is ranked second in the BIG EAST in turnover margin (+2.9).
•Butler leads the BIG EAST in defensive rebounding percentage (.754).