January 22, 2011

Butler Faces Rematch With Milwaukee

ROUND TWO:  Butler will close out its brief homestand when it faces Milwaukee for the second time this month in a key Horizon League game on Sunday, Jan. 23.  The rematch is slated for 2 p.m. (ET) at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be televised regionally on WNDY-TV and Time Warner Wisconsin.  The Bulldogs (14-6, 6-2 Horizon League), coming off an 81-75 victory over Green Bay in the first game of the homestand on Friday (Jan. 21), are trying to keep pace with league-leading Valparaiso, a 60-43 winner over Milwaukee (9-11, 4-5 HL) on Friday.  Butler trails the first place Crusaders by a single game in the league standings, and the two teams will meet in Valparaiso next Saturday (Jan. 29).  Milwaukee handed Butler its biggest margin of defeat in 198 games in the first meeting between the two teams back on Jan. 3 at U.S. Cellular Arena.  The Panthers shot .553 (26-47) for the game and hit 11 three-point field goals, while hanging a 76-52 beating on the Bulldogs.  The 55% shooting is a season-best by a Butler opponent.  The loss snapped Butler’s six-game winning streak.                  

Butler has not lost to a team twice in the regular season since 2004-05.  

HOME IMPROVEMENT:  The Bulldogs improved to 8-1 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season with the win over Green Bay on Friday.  It was Butler’s sixth straight win at home and the 23rd victory in the last 24 home contests.  The Bulldogs, who were 15-0 at home last year, are 52-4 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in four seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.

Butler has beaten 15 straight Horizon League foes at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

HIGH NUMBERS:  Butler continues to lead the Horizon League in team scoring offense with a 74.4 points per game average.  The Bulldogs topped 80 points for the third time in four games with their victory over Green Bay on Friday.   It was the eighth time this season that Butler has scored 80 or more points in a game.  Only one other Butler team (2007-08) in the past decade has had as many as six 80-point games.
 
LAST TIME OUT:  Butler overcame a nine-point deficit, amassed a 21-point lead and then held off a charging Green Bay squad to post an 81-75 victory on Friday (Jan. 21).  The Bulldogs who trailed, 22-13, ten minutes into the first half, used a 27-10 scoring run to grab a 40-32 halftime lead.  Butler then extended that margin to 68-47 in the first ten minutes of the final period.  But the Phoenix stormed back behind guards Rahmon Fletcher, Bryquis Perine and Steve Baker to cut Butler’s lead to three, 78-75, with under a minute remaining.  Fletcher had a three-point field goal attempt to tie the game with 0:35 left, but the shot rimmed out, and Butler held on by hitting three free throws down the stretch.    Baker led Green Bay with 20 points off the bench, while Butler’s Matt Howard led all scorers with 29 points.  The win, which snapped Green Bay’s four-game winning streak, helped Butler rebound from a loss at Wright State five days earlier.  

FRIGID START:  Butler’s shooting touch matched the single-digit temperature outside of Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday night.  The Bulldogs hit just three of their first 12 field goal attempts, while falling behind visiting Green Bay (which responded to the cold night by hitting five of its first seven shots).  Butler then climbed back into the game by hitting 12 of 18 (.667) shots in the final 11 minutes of the first half.  Butler connected on 12 of 23 (.522) shots in the second half and finished with a .509 shooting percentage for the game.

OLD FAITHFUL:  Senior Matt Howard, Butler’s on- and off-court leader for four seasons, was at his very best in Butler’s victory over Green Bay.  The 6-8 forward led all scorers with a season-high 29 points, and he topped all rebounders with a career-high 16 caroms.  It was his sixth double-double this season and the 15th of his Butler career.  Howard scored 17 points in the first half, helping Butler turn a nine-point deficit into an eight-point halftime lead, before adding 12 points and seven rebounds in the final 20 minutes.  His 29 points were one off his career-high set against Loyola in Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2009.  Howard has led Butler in scoring in eight of the past 13 games.

Matt Howard is averaging 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

INSIDE OFFENSE:  Sophomore Andrew Smith recorded his third consecutive double-figures scoring performance with 12 points against Green Bay.  The 6-11 Butler forward, who had the best back-to-back scoring performances of his young career with a pair of 15-point efforts at Detroit and Wright State, hit all five shots that he attempted against Green Bay and two of three from the free throw line.  Smith has had his top five career scoring performances in Butler’s last eight games.

Andrew Smith is averaging 14.2 points in Butler’s last five games.   

BEYOND SCORING:  Junior Shelvin Mack struggled with his shooting touch for the third straight game, but he gave the Bulldogs a boost against Green Bay with five rebounds and a team-high four assists.  It was the second straight game that he topped the Bulldogs in assists and the fourth time in five outings.  Mack hit five of 13 shots from the floor and three of eight from the free throw line, while finishing with 14 points.  Since scoring 28 points in Butler’s victory over Youngstown State (Jan. 9), the 6-3 guard has shot just .333 (11-33) from the field and .231 (3-13) from the three-point arc  

LEAGUE LEADERS:  Butler and Milwaukee have been the two most dominant programs in the Horizon League over the past decade.  Since 2000-01, Butler ha won or shared seven Horizon League regular season championships, while Milwaukee stands second with three regular season title.  Both programs own three league tournament titles over the ten-year span.  Butler leads the Horizon League with 131 regular season league victories since 2000-01, while Milwaukee is second with 110.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Senior Matt Howard has scored in 124 consecutive Butler games, every game of his collegiate career.  He has 91 career double-figures scoring performances.

•Matt Howard stands seventh on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,689 career points.  He’s moved into third place on Butler’s all-time rebounding chart with 760 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring (17.9) and third rebounding (8.1).

•Matt Howard is leading the Bulldogs, and he ranks second 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 20.2 points and 8.0 rebounds in Butler’s last five games.  He’s shooting .547 from the field over that stretch.

•Matt Howard has averaged 12.5 points in eight career games against Milwaukee.  His average at home against the Panthers also is 12.5.

•Matt Howard was named Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Month for December.  The two-time Academic All-American averaged 19.3 points last month.

•Matt Howard is leading the Horizon League in three-point field goal shooting (.480).  Howard has hit nine of 14 (.643) shots from the three-point arc since Butler’s last meeting with Milwaukee.

•Matt Howard is celebrating his 22nd birthday today.  Last year, he had nine points and six rebounds in 27 minutes in a victory at UIC on his birthday.

•Junior Shelvin Mack stands in 23rd place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,204 career points.  He’s four points behind Tim McRoberts (1980-84) in the No. 22 spot on Butler’s all-time chart.

•Shelvin Mack, who hit a single three-point field goal against Green Bay, stands in 10th place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals.  He’s connected on 167 career three-pointers, seven behind Jermaine Guice (1990-94) in ninth place.

•Shelvin Mack is 10th on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 297 career assists, eight behind Ohio State assistant coach Brandon Miller (2000-03) in the No. 9 spot.

•Shelvin Mack had a career-low three points in 28 minutes against Milwaukee on Jan. 3.  Mack averaged 16.7 points in three meetings with the Panthers a year ago.

•The Bulldogs are 36-6 when Shelvin Mack scores at least 14 points and 22-3 when he leads the team in scoring.

•Junior Ronald Nored, who had three assists against Green Bay, stands in 14th place on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 265 career assists.  He’s six assists behind Travis Trice (1993-95) and Tom Orner (1975-79), who share the No. 12 position.

•Sophomore Andrew Smith has connected on 49 of his last 65 (.754) field goal attempts, including 38 of his last 49.  Smith leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.657).

•Andrew Smith is shooting .761 (35-46) against Horizon League foes.  Smith is hitting at a .745 (35-47) clip in nine games in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

•Senior guard Shawn Vanzant scored a career-high 20 points against Milwaukee on Jan. 24, 2009.  Three of Vanzant’s top eight career scoring performances have come against the Panthers, including 11 points earlier this month.

•Shawn Vanzant has had just three turnovers as a starter in the last five Butler games.

•Freshman Khyle Marshall has averaged 8.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in a reserve role in Butler’s past seven games.  He’s had three double-figures scoring performances over that stretch.

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

•Butler has won its last 28 games when hitting at least nine three-point field goals.  The Bulldogs have hit nine or more three-pointers five times this season.

•The Bulldogs are 45-1 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.