January 8, 2011

Bulldogs Face Youngstown State In Sunday Matinee

SUNDAY SPECIAL:  Butler will return to the court, less than 48 hours after knocking off league-leading Cleveland State, and try to pick up a second consecutive win when it hosts Youngstown State on Sunday, Jan. 9.  The afternoon Horizon League contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse will start a 2 p.m. (ET) and will be televised locally on WNDY-TV.  The Bulldogs improved to 11-5 on the season and 3-1 in league play with a 79-56 victory over Cleveland State on Friday (Jan. 7).  The win moved Butler to within a half game of the league-leading Vikings, who suffered their first league setback and just their second loss overall.  The four-time, defending champion Bulldogs never trailed in the game and led by as many as 26 points late in the contest.  Youngstown State (6-8, 1-4 HL) dropped a league road test on Friday at Valparaiso, 79-55.  The Penguins trailed by just five points, 34-29, at halftime of that game, but Valparaiso pulled away with 45 points in the second half.  Butler’s game against Youngstown State will close out a brief, two-game homestand.  The Bulldogs will begin a two-game road trip at Detroit on Friday, Jan. 14.          

Butler has beaten 13 straight Horizon League foes in Hinkle Fieldhouse.  

HOME COURT:  The Bulldogs, who were 15-0 in Hinkle Fieldhouse a year ago, improved to 6-1 at home this season with their victory over Cleveland State on Friday.  Butler was 30-2 at home over the previous two seasons and had a 17-game homecourt winning streak, prior to an overtime loss to Evansville on Nov. 27.  The Bulldogs are 50-4 at home in four seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.

FIRST CENTURY:  Head coach Brad Stevens and Butler’s five current seniors picked up their 100th career victory with the win over Cleveland State.  Stevens and company are 100-20 over the past three and a half seasons.  This year’s seniors became the third four-year class at Butler to reach 100 career victories.  The 2003 class of Joel Cornette, Darnell Archey, Lewis Curry and Mike Moore compiled 100 wins over four seasons, while Willie Veasley and Nick Rodgers finished with a school-record 118 career victories last year.

FAST TRACK:  Only five coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history reached 100 career victories faster than Butler’s Brad Stevens, and none has done it in the last three decades.  Doc Meanwell of Wisconsin reached the milestone in his 109th game in 1918, Buck Freeman of St. John’s did it in his 110th game in 1932, and Adolph Rupp of Kentucky made it in his 116th game in 1936.  Jerry Tarkanian at Long Beach State (1973) and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse (1980) both reached career victory 100 in their 117th game.  Stevens is tied for sixth on the list with Fred Taylor of Ohio State (1963), Everett Case of North Carolina State (1950) and Charles Osborn of Bradley (1961).  Butler’s coach also is tied for fifth on the NCAA list of “Fastest To 50 Wins.”  He recorded his 50th career victory in his 56th game in 2009.  

LAST TIME OUT:  Butler rebounded from its biggest margin of defeat in nearly 200 games by pinning a 23-point setback on league-leading Cleveland State.  The Bulldogs opened the game with a 21-4 run, led by 19 (42-23) at halftime and maintained a 20-point lead throughout the final 10 minutes of the game.  The convincing win over the team ranked No. 1 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll came four days after the Bulldogs were beaten at Milwaukee, 76-52.  That setback was Butler’s biggest margin of defeat since the 2004-05 season.          

BIG NIGHT:  Sophomore Andrew Smith made the most of his first game against Cleveland State.  The 6-11 forward, who didn’t play in either of Butler’s games against the Vikings a year ago, recorded his first career double-double with career-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds to spark the Bulldogs’ victory.  Smith, who scored 17 of his points after intermission, hit seven of nine shots from the field and all eight of his free throw attempts in the game.  His 22 points came in 24 minutes of action.  Smith’s top scoring game prior to the Cleveland State contest was 14 points against Washington State in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.

Andrew Smith is averaging 10.6 points at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.       

HOT PERFORMER:  Senior Matt Howard finished with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals in 24 minutes of action against Cleveland State.  The 6-8 forward hit four of eight shots against the Vikings and eight of 10 from the charity stripe.  It was his second straight double-figures scoring performance and his 14th in 16 games this season.

Matt Howard ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring (17.1).

NEW YEAR:  Junior Ronald Nored recorded a third consecutive double-figures scoring performance for the first time in his career with 13 points against Cleveland State.  He hit five of eight shots from the floor and two of four from the free throw line in the win.  In Butler’s three January games.  The 6-0 point-guard is shooting .536 from the field and averaging 12.0 points.  He opened 2011 with 11 points in a victory over Valparaiso and then tallied 12 points at Milwaukee.

Ronald Nored is shooting .545 over Butler’s last eight games.
 
HOME DEFENSE:  The Bulldogs held Cleveland State to seven points in the first 10 minutes of the game, while taking control of the contest.  The Vikings managed just 23 points in the first 20 minutes and 40 points in the first 30.  The 56 total points were a season-low for the league-leaders, who were averaging better than 73 points per game.

CHARITABLE WORK:  Butler added to its lead against Cleveland State by hitting 17 of 23 (.786) shots from the free throw line in the second half.  The Bulldogs finished the game with 22 points from the charity stripe, the seventh time this season that Butler has hit at least 20 free throws in a game.   

Butler leads the Horizon League in team free throw shooting (.749).

BULLDOG BITS:

•Senior Matt Howard has scored in 120 consecutive Butler games, every game of his collegiate career.  He has 87 career double-figures scoring performances.

•Matt Howard stands eighth on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,605 career points.  He’s two points shy of Jermaine Guice, 1990-94, in seventh place on the all-time scoring chart.

•Matt Howard, who ranks third in the Horizon League in rebounding (7.9), has moved into fifth place on Butler’s all-time rebounding list with 726 career caroms.

•Matt Howard is leading the Bulldogs, and he stands fifth in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.841).

•Matt Howard is the lone player in the Horizon League to rank among the league’s “Top 10” players in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage.

•Matt Howard has averaged 18.8 points in six career games against Youngstown State.  He’s had 20 or more points against the Penguins four times, including 25 points at Hinkle Fieldhouse as a sophomore.  He’s averaged 19.7 points against the Penguins in three home games.

•Matt Howard is shooting .576 from the field and .887 from the free throw line in seven games at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.  He’s averaged 17.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in those seven games.

•Junior Shelvin Mack has topped 20 points in two of four meetings with Youngstown State, and he’s failed to reach 10 points in the other two meetings.  He had 24 points in last year’s meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse and 22 points at Youngstown State in his freshman season.

•Shelvin Mack is averaging 14.3 points and 4.3 assists at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

•Shelvin Mack, who hit a pair of three-point field goals against Cleveland State now has 159 career three-pointers.  He’s moved ahead of Darrin Fitzgerald (1986-87) and into 10th place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals. (Fitzgerald had 158 three-point field goals in one season, and he still holds the NCAA record for three-point field goals per game - 5.6).

•The Bulldogs are 34-6 when Shelvin Mack scores at least 14 points and 21-3 when he leads the team in scoring.

•Junior Ronald Nored has averaged 10.5 points in Butler’s last six games, with four double-figures scoring performances.

•Ronald Nored has connected on 26 of his last 34 (.765) free throw attempts.  He entered this season with a .570 career free throw percentage.

•Ronald Nored matched his career-high with eight rebounds against Cleveland State.  He was second on the team in rebounding against the Vikings.

•Sophomore Andrew Smith has connected on 29 of his last 37 (.784) field goal attempts, including 18 of his last 21.  Smith is shooting .711 from the field in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

•Senior Zach Hahn did not play against Cleveland State, because of a bout with the flu.  The 6-1 guard, who started Butler’s previous 13 games, is available to play against Youngstown State.

•Senior Shawn Vanzant played a career-high 31 minutes against Cleveland State with no turnovers.

•Sophomore Chase Stigall came off the bench and matched his career-high for minutes played with 22 against Cleveland State.  He had seven points and four rebounds.

•Freshman Khyle Marshall matched his career-high with 11 points in 17 minutes of reserve work against Cleveland State.  He had eight points in the first half.

•Butler is shooting .820 from the charity stripe in six games at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.  The Bulldogs have out-scored their seven Fieldhouse opponents, 150-89, at the free throw line.

•Butler has won 25 of its last 26 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.

•Butler has won its last 27 games when hitting at least nine three-point field goals.  The Bulldogs have hit nine or more three-pointers four times this season.

•The Bulldogs are 44-1 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.