December 30, 2013

Bulldogs Begin BIG EAST Play Against #11 Villanova

BUTLER (10-2) vs. #11 VILLANOVA (11-1)
Tuesday, December 31, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Hinkle Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, Ind.
TV:  Fox Sports 1
Radio:  1070 AM/107.5 FM

Game Notes

CONFERENCE DEBUT:  Butler won't be easing into its inaugural season in the BIG EAST.  The Bulldogs begin conference play on New Year's Eve against the top team in the league standings, nationally-ranked Villanova!  The two teams will meet at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 7:30 p.m. (ET) in the fourth game of a day-long event involving all ten BIG EAST teams.  St. John's will visit Xavier at noon to start the BIG EAST New Year's Eve Marathon.  Seton Hall will play at Providence at 2:30 p.m., DePaul will be at Georgetown at 5 p.m., and Marquette will visit Creighton in the final game at 10 p.m.  All five games will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.  Villanova has been the BIG EAST pacesetter during the non-conference portion of the season.  The #11 Wildcats won their first 11 games and climbed into the "Top 10" in the national rankings, before falling for the first time at #2 Syracuse on Saturday (Dec. 28).  Among the Wildcats' early victims this year were Kansas and Iowa, both ranked in the "Top 25" at the time.  Butler improved to 10-2 for the second consecutive year with a 66-48 victory at home over NJIT in its final non-conference game on Saturday.                      

Butler has won five consecutive games for the second time this season.          

LEAGUE CHANGE:  Butler will be beginning play in its third conference in three years.  The Bulldogs ended a 32-year affiliation with the Horizon League after the 2011-12 season and spent the 2012-13 campaign as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.  Butler officially became a member of the BIG EAST in July of 2013.
 
HISTORIC HOME:  Villanova is the first of five BIG EAST team who will visit Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time.  The 85-year-old home of the Bulldogs also will host Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall and St. John's for the first time ever in 2013-14.  Butler has won 25 of the last 28 games its played in Hinkle Fieldhouse, including all six 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 232-34 in Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1995-96 season.

RANKING ORDER:  Butler only faced one nationally-ranked team in Hinkle Fieldhouse last season, and the Bulldogs pulled off a stunning, 64-63, victory over #8 Gonzaga in that game.  Roosevelt Jones came up with a steal at mid-court and hit a floater at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs the win.

Butler is 2-2 against Top 25 teams at Hinkle Fieldhouse since 2009-10.
 
HOT START:  Butler hit five of its first six shots against NJIT and went on to shoot 52% in the first half, while building a 29-16 advantage.  The Bulldogs, who never trailed in the game, led 14-4 seven minutes into the contest and NJIT never got closer than six points the rest of the way.  Butler stretched the margin to as many as 19 points on five different occasions in the second half, before setting for the 18-point victory.  It was Butler's seventh straight win at home, dating back to last season.
      
SENIOR LEADER:  Senior Khyle Marshall paced the Bulldogs against NJIT with 21 points on eight of 10 shooting from the field.  The 6-6 forward had six of Butler's first 14 points to help the Bulldogs gain early control, and then he tallied a team-best 13 points in the second half.  His performance earned him a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll, released on Monday (Dec. 20).  Marshall has strung together six consecutive double-figures' scoring performances for the first time in his successful Butler career.  The Bulldogs' second-leading scorer previously had reached double-figures in three straight games on three different occasions.  Marshall has scored 10 or more points in 10 of 12 games this season.

Khyle Marshall ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in scoring (17.0).

CHART WATCH:  Khyle Marshall, who became the 15th Butler player to reach both 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds during the Bulldogs' Thanksgiving trip to the Old Spice Classic in Florida, moved into 29th place on Butler's all-time scoring list during Butler's victory over NJIT.  He boosted his career scoring total to 1,114 points and moved ahead of both Joel Cornette, 1999-2003, and Dave Sanders, 1962-65, on the Bulldogs' all-time list.  Marshall needs three points to catch Ken Pennington, 1957-60, in the No. 28 position, and he trails his head coach, Brandon Miller, 2000-03, in the No. 27 spot by just seven points.  A total of 35 players in Butler basketball history have scored 1,000 career points.

BOARD RULES:  The Bulldogs, led by junior Kameron Woods, compiled a 45-27 rebounding advantage over NJIT.  The 18-rebound margin matched Butler's season-high, set one week earlier at Evansville.  Woods led all players with 12 rebounds, including nine defensive caroms.  It was the seventh time he reached double-figures in rebounds this season, and his 12 rebounds matched the second-highest total of his Butler career.  Woods, who's ranked 22nd in Division I in rebounding, has grabbed at least nine rebounds in 10 of Butler's last 11 games.

Kameron Woods leads the BIG EAST in rebounding (9.8 ppg).

SCORING UPDATE:  Sophomore Kellen Dunham had a streak of five straight games in double-figures' snapped in Butler's victory over NJIT.  The 6-6 guard, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring, finished with nine points and just one three-point field goal against the Highlanders.  Dunham, a former Indiana High School scoring champ, has posted three of his top four career scoring performances in Butler's last eight 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 (18.1 ppg).  

BULLDOG BITS:

•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 53 of Butler's last 54 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 (.553).

•Kyle Marshall ranks fourth in the BIG EAST Conference in field goal shooting (.582).

•Khyle Marshall is shooting at a .636 (35-55) clip during Butler's current winning streak.  

•Khyle Marshall stands ninth in the BIG EAST in rebounding (6.7).   He's second in the conference in offensive rebounds (3.3).

•Butler is 40-10 all-time when Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures.  The Bulldogs are 24-2 in Marshall's last 26 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 has averaged 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds during Butler's current winning streak.

•Erik Fromm is shooting 82% (9-11) from the free throw line at home.  Fromm is shooting 74% from the line on the season.

•Kameron Woods leads the BIG EAST in defensive rebounds (7.2).  He's tied for seventh in offensive rebounds (2.6).  

•Kameron Woods stands eighth in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (.539).

•Kameron Woods, who had three blocked shots against NJIT, is tied for fifth in the BIG EAST in blocked shots (1.4).

•Kameron Woods had career-highs for free throws made (5) and free throws attempted (8) in Butler's win over NJIT.

•Kameron Woods has pulled down 37 rebounds in Butler's last three games.  He's averaged 10.2 rebounds in the Bulldogs' current winning streak.

Alex Barlow earned a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Dec. 23rd, after scoring a career-high 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds at Evansville.

•Alex Barlow is second in the BIG EAST and 39th in the NCAA Division I in steals (2.2).
 
•Alex Barlow ranks second in the BIG EAST assist/turnover ratio (2.7).  Barlow has 38 assists and 14 turnovers in 12 games.

•Kellen Dunham ranks fifth in the BIG EAST and 31st in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goal shooting (.447).

•Kellen Dunham stands third in the BIG EAST in three-point field goals (2.8).

•Kellen Dunham has hit at least one three-point field goal in his last 13 games and in 39 career games.

•Butler is 31-8 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).

•Kellen Dunham has averaged 18.6 points during the Bulldogs' current five-game winning streak.

Rene Castro came off the bench and scored 10 points in 19 minutes against NJIT.  Castro has scored 22 points in his last two games at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

•The Bulldogs lead the BIG EAST and are ranked 19th in the NCAA Division I in fewest turnovers per game (10.1).  Butler is ranked third in the BIG EAST in turnover margin (+2.5).

•Butler ranks second in the BIG EAST in scoring defense (62.5).  The Bulldogs have held five opponents below 60 points this season.