February 14, 2011

Bulldogs Begin Closing Stretch At Green Bay

STRETCH RUN:  Butler will face the first of its final two road games when it visits Green Bay for a key Horizon League test on Tuesday, Feb. 15.  The two teams will square off at Green Bay’s Resch Center at 8 p.m. (ET) in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.  The Bulldogs, who have three games remaining, improved to 18-9 on the season and 10-5 in the league with a 66-51 victory over Detroit on Saturday (Feb. 12).  The win helped Butler move into a tie for third place in the league standings, two games behind league-leading Valparaiso (11-3).  Green Bay (12-14, 6-8 HL) fell at Loyola, 79-62, on Saturday.  It was the third straight loss for the Phoenix, all on the road.  Green Bay is 9-3 in the Resch Center this season, including wins in six of its last seven  outings.  Butler will close out its 2010-11 regular season road schedule at UIC on Saturday, Feb. 19.  That game is slated for 2 p.m. (ET).                             

STREAKING BULLDOGS:  Butler has won its last four games, after losing three straight contests for the first time under head coach Brad Stevens.  The four-game winning streak is Butler’s second-longest of the season, trailing the team’s six-game winning streak in December and early January.  The Bulldogs have out-scored their last four opponents by 42 points (+10.5), and have had a +4.0 (128-112) advantage in rebounding.

Butler has had eight win streaks of at least five games under Brad Stevens.

TITLE CHASE:  With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Horizon League continues to have the most hotly contested race in recent annals.  Valparaiso continues to hold the top spot in the league standings with an 11-3 record, while former league-leader Cleveland State is second at 11-4.  Butler (10-5) and Milwaukee (10-5) are two games back in the loss column, while Wright State (10-6) is three back.  The top two teams in the final regular season standings get a bye to the semifinals of the league tournament, which will be held at the home site of the regular season champ.

Butler is 3-1 against the top two teams in the Horizon League standings.

LAST TIME OUT:  Butler, fueled by the hot hand of junior guard Shelvin Mack, out-scored visiting Detroit by 20 points in the final 20 minutes and pulled away to post a 66-51 victory.  The Bulldogs, who trailed at halftime, 34-29, began the second half with an 11-2 run to jump in front.  A 21-4 run in the final 10 minutes of the second half put the game away for the home team.  Mack was at the center of both runs, scoring eight points in the initial flurry and 14 in the second!  The 6-3 Butler guard scored 24 of his career-high 32 points in the final period, and he out-scored the visitors by seven points over the final 20 minutes!  The win was Butler’s first this season in a game in which they trailed at halftime.

Butler improved to 55-5 in Hinkle Fieldhouse under coach Brad Stevens.     

CAREER DAY:  Junior Shelvin Mack recorded Butler’s first 30-point scoring performance this season and the first of his career with 32 point in 33 minutes against Detroit.  He hit nine of 18 shots, including six of 11 from beyond the three-point arc, and all eight of his free throw attempts to compile his personal record total.  Mack’s output was the most by a Butler player since 1998, when current Associate Head Coach Matthew Graves scored 42 point for the Bulldogs against Cleveland State.  His total also was the most by a Butler player in a victory since 1997, when Jon Neuhouser scored 32 in a win at Northern Illinois.

Shelvin Mack has led Butler in scoring in four of the past five games.

SCORING RUN:  Shelvin Mack posted his 11th consecutive double-figures scoring performance in Butler’s victory over Detroit.  It was the seventh time this season that he’s scored 20 or more points and the 11th time that he’s led the Bulldogs in scoring.  During the Bulldogs’ past 11 games, the 6-3 guard has averaged 17.7 points and led the Bulldogs in scoring six times.  Mack had 14 points against Green Bay last month, matching his highest output in five career meetings with the Phoenix.

SOLID RETURN:  Senior Matt Howard, who sat out Butler’s game against Wright State after suffering a cut above his right eye and a mild concussion in the Bulldogs’ victory over UIC earlier in the week, was back in Butler’s starting lineup against Detroit.  He celebrated his return by leading both teams with 12 rebounds and adding nine points, two assists and three steals in 37 minutes of action.  The 6-8 forward had a game-high four offensive rebounds in the contest, including three in the second half when Butler pulled away for the win.

Matt Howard has had 10 or more rebounds in 19 career games.

BOARD ROOM:  The Bulldogs, out-rebounded in the first half by the rangy Titans, stormed back in the second half to finish with a 38-24 rebounding advantage over Detroit.  The Bulldogs limited the Horizon League’s best offensive rebounding team to just four offensive boards.  Butler finished with 16 offensive rebounds, matching the squad’s second-highest total of the season, and 22 defensive boards.  The performance on the offensive glass came just one game after Butler managed just a single offensive rebounds in a victory over Wright State.

Butler has out-rebounded six of its last seven opponents.

POINT LEADERS:  Despite scoring just 66 points against Detroit, Butler continues to lead the Horizon League in team scoring offense with a 73.7 points per game average.  The Bulldogs have scored 80 or more points in nine different games this season, including four of the last 11 contests.  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.

BULLDOG BITS:

•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.

•Matt Howard was named to the five-player Capital One Academic All-District V Team for the third consecutive year.  Howard is a two-time Academic All-American.

•Matt Howard stands in fifth place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,768 career points.  He’s third on Butler’s all-time rebounding list with 805 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard is the first player in Butler basketball history to score 1,500 career points and grab 800 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard ranks third in the Horizon League in both scoring (16.8) and rebounding (7.9).

•Matt Howard has averaged 16.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in seven career games against Green Bay.  He’s scored in double-figures in six of the seven meetings with the Phoenix.

•Matt Howard has averaged 14.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in three previous visits to the Resch Center.  His high game on Green Bay’s homecourt was 18 points last year.

•Matt Howard is third in the Horizon League in 3-point field goal shooting (.449).  Howard has hit 19 of his last 40 (.475) shots from the 3-point arc.

•Junior Shelvin Mack has moved into 15th place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,335 career points.  He’s trails Rylan Hainje (1998-2002) in the No. 14 spot on the Bulldogs’ all-time chart by 53 points.

•Shelvin Mack has moved into a tie with Pete Campbell (2006-08) for sixth place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals with 183.  He needs one three-pointer to catch Avery Sheets (2002-06) in the No. 5 position.

•Shelvin Mark ranks fourth in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (2.0).

•Shelvin Mack stands in sixth place on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 322 career assists.  Avery Sheets, 2002-06, is fifth on the all-time list with 323 assists.

•Shelvin Mark ranks sixth in the Horizon League in assists (3.6).

•Shelvin Mack has made his last 19 free throw attempts.  He’s moved into 10th place in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.798).

•Junior Ronald Nored has his left hand taped to protect a wound he suffered at Youngstown State.  Nored needed five stitches to close the cut and he didn’t start Butler’s next two games.

•Ronald Nored has moved into 11th place on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 283 career assists.

•Senior Shawn Vanzant is coming off his best back-to-back scoring performances this season.  He posted the second-highest total of his Butler career with 15 points against Wright State, and then he had 12 points against Detroit.

•Shawn Vanzant has scored in double-figures in five of Butler’s last seven games.  He’s averaging 10.0 point over that seven-game stretch.

•Sophomore Andrew Smith has connected on 74 of his last 107 (.692) field goal attempts.  Smith leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.639).

•Andrew Smith is shooting .682 (60-88) against Horizon League foes.

•Andrew Smith is averaging 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds over Butler’s four-game winning streak.  Smith is shooting .643 (18-28) over that four-game stretch.

•Senior Zach Hahn has hit 20 of his last 42 (.476) three-point field goal attempts.

•Butler has hit 26 of 33 (.788) shots from the charity stripe in the past two wins.  The Bulldogs are second in the Horizon League in team free throw shooting (.735).

•The Bulldogs are second in the Horizon League in 3-point FG% (.364).

•The Bulldogs are 46-3 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.  Butler hit 10 three-pointers against Detroit.

•Butler has won 26 of its last 27 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.