Bulldogs Visit Nationally-Ranked Foe
BUTLER (12-15, 2-13 BIG EAST) vs. #8 VILLANOVA (24-3, 12-2 BIG EAST)
Wednesday, February 26, 8 p.m. (ET)
The Pavilion - Villanova, Pa.
Television: Fox Sports 1 (Scott Graham, Stu Jackson)
Radio: 1070 AM/107.5 FM (Mark Minner, Nick Gardner)
FIRST VISIT: Butler will meet a "Top 25" team for the fifth time this season when it visits No. 8 Villanova for a BIG EAST contest on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The two conference foes will square off at the Pavilion on Villanova's campus at 8 p.m. (ET), and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1. Butler, making its first appearance in the Pavilion, will be facing Villanova for the second time this season and for the third time overall, and the Wildcats have been nationally-ranked in all three games. Villanova, ranked No. 11 at the time, won the first meeting this season at Hinkle Fieldhouse, 76-73 in overtime, on New Year's Eve. The first-ever meeting between the two teams came at the 1996 Puerto Rico Shootout, and the No. 5-ranked Wildcats prevailed in that encounter. Butler (12-15, 2-13 BIG EAST) is coming off a home loss to Providence, 87-81, on Sunday (Feb. 23), and the Bulldogs are trying to snap a six-game losing skid. It's Butler's longest losing streak since 1989-90, when the Bulldogs dropped 11 straight contests. Villanova (24-3, 12-2 BIG EAST) has won two straight games, including a 57-54 decision over St. John's on Saturday (Feb. 22), and eight of its last nine outings. The Wildcats enter this week one-half game behind BIG EAST leader Creighton in the conference standings.
Butler's last "Top 25" win came against #8 Gonzaga on Jan. 19, 2013.
RANKING ORDER: Butler has already faced No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 11 Villanova, No. 18 Creighton and No. 20 Creighton this season. The Bulldogs dropped a two-point decision, 69-67, to Oklahoma State at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Florida, and then fell in overtime to Villanova by three points. Creighton captured the first meeting with Butler this season, 88-60, at home and then escaped with a 68-63 victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse in the second encounter. Current Butler seniors, Khyle Marshall and Erik Fromm, have faced 17 "Top 25" teams over the past four seasons, and the Bulldogs are 6-11 in those games.
Butler was 3-3 against "Top 25" teams a year ago.
TURNING POINT: The last time Butler and Villanova met, the Bulldogs boasted a 10-2 record and were riding a five-game winning streak. The New Year's Eve loss in overtime to the Wildcats started Butler on a five-game slide, and the Bulldogs have managed just two wins in the eight weeks since.
HOT NIGHT: Visiting Providence shot a sizzling 67% for the game, including 65% from beyond the three-point arc, and held off a second-half Butler charge to post a six-point win on Sunday. The Friars hit 10 of 14 three-point field goal attempts in the first half, while building a 46-33 halftime lead. But the Bulldogs opened the second half with a 17-2 run to take the lead, and the two teams battled back-and-forth for the remainder of the game. Providence scored 13 of its final 15 points from the free throw line to secure the win.
HEAT CHECK: Providence became the first team to shoot 60% against the Bulldogs since 2007, when Texas Tech reached that level in an 81-71 loss to Butler at the Great Alaska Shootout. The Friars' 67% effort was the highest field goal percentage against Butler since Dec. 30, 2004, when Eastern Washington hit 26 of 38 (68.4%) shots in a 67-62 victory at the Fiesta Bowl Classic. Villanova's 65% three-point shooting was the highest against the Bulldogs in two decades and the highest-ever by a team with 20 attempts. The last Butler foe to shoot better from the three-point arc was Southern Utah, which hit seven of 10 three-pointers in a victory on Feb. 1, 1994. Providence entered the game at Butler shooting .341 from beyond the three-point arc.
LEAD ROLE: Sophomore Kellen Dunham turned in his top scoring performance in nearly two months and led the Bulldogs with 25 points against Providence. It was the 13th time in the past 15 games that the 6-6 guard has scored in double-figures, and was his highest total since he tallied 30 points against DePaul on Jan. 9. Dunham has reached double-figures in scoring in 22 total games this season, and he's been the Bulldogs' leading scorer in 15 contests. He owns seven of Butler's top 10 single game scoring totals this season, including the top overall mark with 32 points against Washington State.
Kellen Dunham ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in scoring (16.9 ppg).
20-20: Senior Khyle Marshall joined teammate Kellen Dunham (25 points) to give Butler a solid one-two scoring punch against Providence. Marshall, who scored 13 of Butler's 33 points in the first half against the Friars, wound up scoring 22 points in the game on 10 of 17 shooting from the field. It was his first 20-point scoring performance since Dec. 28, when he tallied 21 points against NJIT. The 6-6 forward has scored in double-figures in 12 of Butler's last 14 games. It was the third time this season that Marshall and Dunham both scored 20 or more points in the same game.
STATE PRIDE: Freshman Andrew Chrabascz, who hails from Portsmouth, R.I., matched the second-highest scoring total of his young career with 14 points against Providence. The 6-7 forward, making his seventh career start for the Bulldogs, hit four of seven shots from the floor, including his lone three-point attempt, and five of five from the free throw line. He also added a career-high four assists in the game. In two career games against his home state team, Chrabascz has averaged 11.0 points.
CAREER MOVE: Senior Khyle Marshall heads into the game at Villanova ranked among the "Top 20" players all-time at Butler in both scoring and rebounding. The 6-6 forward moved into 19th on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,313 career points. He trails Thomas Jackson (1998-2002) and Tom Bowman (1960-63), who share the No. 17 spot, by 21 points. Marshall also stands 15th on Butler's all-time rebounding list with 589 career rebounds. Marshall is one of 15 players in Butler basketball history to record 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
•Khyle Marshall has started 68 of Butler's last 69 games. He did not start on Butler's "Senior Day" a year ago. Marshall has 85 career starts at Butler.
•Khyle Marshall ranks eighth on Butler's all-time list for field goal shooting (.540).
•Kyle Marshall is fourth in the BIG EAST in field goal shooting (.528).
•Khyle Marshall ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in offensive rebounds (2.4).
•Khyle Marshall stands 10th in the BIG EAST in scoring (14.9).
•Khyle Marshall has scored in double-figures in 18 of the past 21 contests.
•Khyle Marshall and Villanova's James Bell were teammates on the USA Team at the 2011 U19 World Championship in Latvia.
•Kameron Woods returned from a temporary suspension and led all players with 10 rebounds in the game with Providence.
•Kameron Woods continues to lead the BIG EAST in rebounding (9.1 rpg). He leads the conference in defensive rebounds (7.0), and he's 12th in offensive rebounds (2.1).
•Kameron Woods stands 12th in the BIG EAST in blocked shots (0.9).
•Alex Barlow had a career-high eight assists and no turnovers against Providence.
•Alex Barlow ranks third in the BIG EAST and 15th in the NCAA Division I in assist/turnover ratio (3.0). He's 11th in the conference in assists (3.5).
•Alex Barlow has had at least one steal in 24 of Butler's 27 games. He ranks second in the BIG EAST in steals (1.9).
•Alex Barlow has scored in double-figures in three of Butler's last four games. He's averaging 11.0 points over that stretch.
•Alex Barlow is shooting .429 (9-21) from beyond the three-point arc over Butler's last four games.
•Alex Barlow ranks 12th in the BIG EAST in three-point field goal shooting (.375).
•Alex Barlow had a game-high nine rebounds in Butler's first meeting with Villanova this season.
•Kellen Dunham ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in three-point field goals (2.6).
•Kellen Dunham has hit at least one three-point field goal in 27 of his last 28 games and in 53 career games. He had a streak of 24 straight contests with a three-point field goal snapped in the game against Xavier.
•Kellen Dunham ranks eighth in the BIG EAST in free throw shooting (.821).
•Kellen Dunham is third in the BIG EAST in minutes played (36.4).
•Kellen Dunham became the 13th Butler sophomore to score 400 points in a season in Butler's game at Georgetown on Feb. 8. He currently stands sixth on Butler's sophomore scoring list with 457 points this season, 18 points behind Matt Howard, 2008-09, in the No. 5 position.
•Kellen Dunham scored 15 of Butler's final 20 points against Villanova on New Year's Eve. He finished with a team-high 22 points.
•Andrew Chrabascz has scored in double-figures in five of his last seven games, including a career-high 24 points at Georgetown.
•Andrew Chrabascz has averaged 11.4 points in seven games as a starter for the Bulldogs.
•Elijah Brown scored a career-high 19 points in Butler's first game with Villanova.
•Elijah Brown had career-highs for rebounds (5) and steals (3) against Villanova.