STATE MEET: Butler faces a major road
test when it visits state foe Valparaiso for a key Horizon League
showdown on Saturday, Jan. 29. The contest at
Valparaiso’s Athletics-Recreation Center will start at 2 p.m
(ET) and will be the featured Horizon League Game of the
Week. The game will be televised in Indianapolis on
WNDY-TV. The Bulldogs (14-7, 6-3 Horizon League), who
defeated Valparaiso, 76-59, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on New
Year’s Day, are coming off an 86-80 loss in overtime to
Milwaukee, Butler’s second loss to the Panthers this
season. That setback left Butler chasing league co-leaders
Cleveland State (19-3, 8-2 HL) and Valparaiso (15-6, 7-2 HL) in the
league standings. The Crusaders are coming off a 63-61 loss
at home to Green Bay. That loss snapped Valparaiso’s
five-game winning streak and bumped the Crusaders from sole
possession of first place in the league standings. This
weekend’s game at the Athletics-Recreation Center will be the
final regular season meeting between the two Indiana
Butler is 18-3 in games following a loss under head coach Brad Stevens.
ROAD WORK: Butler’s game at Valparaiso will be the first of three consecutive road contests for the Bulldogs. Following the game at the ARC, Butler will travel to Youngstown State for a contest on Thursday, Feb. 3, and then to first place Cleveland State for a nationally-televised game on Saturday, Feb. 5. The Bulldogs have dropped four of seven road games this year, including three of their last four.
Butler has led the Horizon League in road victories for four consecutive seasons.
POINT PRODUCTION: Butler continues to lead the Horizon League in team scoring offense with a 74.7 points per game average. The Bulldogs have scored 80 or more points in four of their last five games and in nine total games this season. Only one other Butler team (2007-08) in the past decade has had as many as six 80-point games, and no Butler team since 1995 has had as many as nine.
LAST TIME OUT: Visiting Milwaukee used a 13-4 scoring run in the final four minutes of overtime to hang an 86-80 loss on Butler on Sunday (Jan. 23). It was Butler’s first Horizon League home loss since 2008-09. The Panthers overcame a six-point deficit in the second half and tied the game for the final time on a pair of free throws by Tone Boyle with 0:25 left. Butler had a final shot to win the game in regulation, but Shelvin Mack’s three-point attempt came up short. The Bulldogs’ took an early lead in the overtime period, but Kyle Kelm’s basket with 2:30 left put the Panthers in front for good, 77-76. The game featured 15 ties and 21 lead changes. Neither team could build a margin of more than six points. Milwaukee became the first team to defeat the Bulldogs twice in a regular season since 2004-05.
WEEKEND WARRIOR: Junior Shelvin Mack led all scorers with 23 points against Milwaukee, including 13 in the first half when Butler jumped out to a 37-32 lead. It was his fifth 20-point scoring performance this season and four have come on a Saturday or Sunday. Mack, who had 16 points against Valparaiso earlier this month, has averaged 17.1 points this season in games played on Saturday and Sunday.
BACK-TO-BACK: Senior Matt Howard, Butler’s on- and off-court leader for four seasons, turned in a pair of prime time performances in Butler’s homestand against Green Bay and Milwaukee. The 6-8 forward led all scorers with a season-high 29 points, and he topped all rebounders with a career-high 16 caroms in the Bulldogs’ victory over Green Bay. He then posted 18 points and 10 rebounds against Milwaukee. The two double-doubles gave him seven this season and 16 for his Butler career. The 29 points against Green Bay were one off his career-high set against Loyola in Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2009. Howard’s performance against Milwaukee came on his 22nd birthday.
Matt Howard has scored in double-figures in 19 of Butler’s last 20 games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOUBLED: Freshman Khyle Marshall came off the bench against Milwaukee with 14 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, matching teammate Matt Howard with a double-double in the contest. It was Marshall’s first career double-double. Marshall hit seven of 13 shots in the game, and he pulled down a career-best six offensive rebounds. He scored 10 of his 14 points after halftime.
Khyle Marshall is averaging 10.2 points in Butler’s last five games.
BOARDING PASS: The Bulldogs, paced by the 10-rebound performances of Matt Howard and Khyle Marshall, out-rebounded Milwaukee, 41-36, two days after battling Green Bay to a 36-36 draw on the boards. It was the third time in the last four games that Butler has finished with a rebounding advantage and two of those four games were against the Horizon League’s top two rebounding teams. Butler had 15 offensive rebounds against Milwaukee, the Bulldogs’ second-highest total this season.
HANDLE WITH CARE: Butler averaged fewer than 10 turnovers in the two league games last weekend, and the Bulldogs continued to lead the Horizon League in fewest turnovers per game (11.1). Butler entered this week’s action ranked 17th in Division I in fewest turnovers per game.
CHARITY LEADERS: Butler’s team free throw percentage dipped slightly over the weekend, but the Bulldogs continue to be the top free throw shooting team in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs shot only 58% from the line against Green Bay, but out-scored the Phoenix, 21-9. Butler then shot 72% (18-25) against Milwaukee. The Bulldogs, who have out-scored their opponents 378-299 at the charity stripe, are second in the league in both free throws made (378) and free throws attempted (512).
•Matt Howard has been named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, presented for notable achievement in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
•Senior Matt Howard has scored in 125 consecutive Butler games, every game of his collegiate career. He has 92 career double-figures scoring performances.
•Matt Howard stands seventh on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,707 career points. He ranks third on Butler’s all-time rebounding list with 770 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 seventh in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.815).
•Matt Howard is the lone player in the Horizon League to rank among the league’s “Top 10” players in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage.
•Matt Howard has averaged 20.4 points and 8.8 rebounds in Butler’s last five games. He’s shooting .536 from the field over that stretch.
•Matt Howard has averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in seven career games against Valparaiso.
•Matt Howard is third in the Horizon League in three-point field goal shooting (.463). Howard, who was 0-3 from long range against the Crusaders earlier this month, has hit 11 of 20 (.550) shots from the three-point arc since Butler’s last meeting with Valparaiso.
•Junior Shelvin Mack stands in 21st place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,227 career points. He’s 16 points behind Gerry WIlliams (1960-63) in the No. 20 spot on the Bulldogs’ all-time chart.
•Shelvin Mack, who hit a single three-point field goal against Milwaukee, stands in 10th place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals. He’s connected on 168 career three-pointers, six behind Jermaine Guice (1990-94) in ninth place.
•Shelvin Mack is 10th on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 302 career assists, three behind Ohio State assistant coach Brandon Miller (2000-03) in the No. 9 spot.
•Shelvin Mack has averaged 15.0 points in two previous visits to the Athletics-Recreation Center. Overall, he’s averaged 13.0 points in five career meetings with the Crusaders.
•The Bulldogs are 36-7 when Shelvin Mack scores at least 14 points and 22-4 when he leads the team in scoring.
•Junior Ronald Nored, who had five assists last weekend, stands in 14th place on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 267 career assists. He’s four assists behind Travis Trice (1993-95) and Tom Orner (1975-79), who share the No. 12 position.
•Sophomore Andrew Smith has connected on 52 of his last 69 (.754) field goal attempts, including 41 of his last 53. Smith leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.660).
•Andrew Smith is shooting .760 (38-50) against Horizon League foes. The 6-11 center hit four of five shots against the Crusaders earlier this month.
•Senior guard Shawn Vanzant came off the bench with 11 points against Valparaiso earlier this month. The 6-1 guard has started six of Butler’s seven games since.
•Junior Garrett Butcher sat out the Milwaukee game with deep bone bruise in his lower left leg. His status for this weekend’s game at Valparaiso is undetermined. Butcher has played in 18 games this season, including two as a starter.
•The Bulldogs are shooting a league-best .389 from beyond the three-point arc against Horizon League foes.
•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.
•Butler has won 25 of its last 26 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.