Bulldogs Open Brief Homestand Against Wright State
BACK HOME: Butler, coming off a four-game road stretch, will play its first home game since Jan. 15 when it hosts Wright State on Thursday, Feb. 2. The game between the two Horizon League foes is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) at Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be televised in central Indiana on WNDY-TV. Butler and Wright State are currently tied with Detroit for fifth place in the Horizon League standings, all three sitting at 6-5 in league play. Wright State is coming off back-to-back victories at home over UIC and Loyola. Those two wins lifted the Raiders to 11-12 on the season and ended the team's three-game skid. Junior Julius Mays scored a league-high 33 points in Wright State's win over UIC, including a school-record 19 free throws, and then he added a team-high 16 points against Loyola. Mays ranks fourth in the Horizon League in scoring (14.4). Butler is trying to bounce back from back-to-back road losses at Milwaukee and Green Bay. Those two setbacks dropped the Bulldogs to 12-11 on the season, the most losses by a Butler team since 2005-06. Butler's game against Wright State will be the first of two consecutive home contests for the Bulldogs. The brief homestand will conclude on Saturday (Feb. 4) with a nationally-televised (ESPN2) game against Detroit, starting at noon.
Butler defeated Wright State, 63-62, in Dayton, Ohio, on Jan. 6 to begin 2012.
HOUSE WARMING: The Bulldogs, who had just two home games in January, will play five of their final eight regular season contests at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler is 7-4 at home this season with wins in three of it's last four games in the Fieldhouse. Since Brad Stevens took over as head coach, Butler is 63-9 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the Bulldogs have won 37 of 41 Horizon League regular season home games.
Butler is 159-23 at Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
LOOKING BACK: The Bulldogs, despite a .500 record in January, are two games off the pace of last year's Butler team, which wound up in the NCAA Division I national championship game. Butler was 14-9 through 23 games a year ago, and the Bulldogs were in fifth place in the league standings heading into their 24th game. This year's squad is 12-11 through 23 games and in a tie for fifth place in the league standings heading into the 24th game.
LATE RUN: Host Green Bay out-scored the Bulldogs, 27-15, over the final six minutes of the contest and handed Butler its second straight setback in Wisconsin, 80-68. The Bulldogs, who trailed by a single point at halftime, tied the game five times in the second half with the last coming at 53-53 on a tip-in by sophomore Erik Fromm with 6:52 left. But Green Bay forward Brennan Cougill broke the deadlock with a three-point field goal a minute later, and the Phoenix went on an 8-0 run to gain control of the game. Green Bay scored 12 of its final 14 points from the free throw line for the final margin. Butler dropped the first game of its two-game swing through Wisconsin, 53-42, at Milwaukee two nights earlier.
LEAD ROLE: Senior Ronald Nored led the Bulldogs in scoring and steals, and he finished second on the team in rebounding and assists during Butler's two-game Wisconsin trip. The 6-0 point guard had nine points, a career-high nine rebounds, two assists and four steals in Butler's game at Milwaukee to begin the trip. He came back two days later with 13 points, four rebounds, one assist and two steals in the Bulldogs' game at Green Bay. Nored has averaged a team-best 11.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.0 steals over Butler's last five games.
Ronald Nored has had career-highs for points, rebounds and assists in Butler's last 11 games.
STEAL DETERMINATION: Ronald Nored moved into second place on Butler's all-time list for steals in the Bulldogs' game at Milwaukee. The Butler point-guard had four thefts in the game, boosting his career total to 186 and moving him ahead of A. J. Graves (2004-08) in the No. 2 spot on the all-time list. He added two steals at Green Bay, and he enters this week's action with 188 career steals. Thomas Jackson (1998-2002) is Butler's all-time leader with 207 career steals.
FRESH LIFT: Freshman Roosevelt Jones (right) hit seven of eight shots in the first half at Green Bay, and he wound up matching his career scoring-high with 16 points for the game. He led four Bulldogs in double-figures in the contest, while matching the second-highest point total by a Butler player in the past seven games. It was the second time on Butler's four-game road stretch that Jones notched a career scoring-high. The 6-4 guard also had 16 points to lead the Bulldogs at UIC on Jan. 19.
CENTURY CLUB: Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher are bidding to become just the fourth senior class in Butler basketball history to record 100 career victories. The two have helped Butler to a 99-31 record during their time in the program. Willie Veasley and Nick Rodgers (2006-10) are Butler's all-time winningest class with 118 victories, while Matt Howard, Zach Hahn, Shawn Vanzant, Grant Leiendecker and Alex Anglin (2007-11) finished with 117. The class of Darnell Archey, Joel Cornette, Lewis Curry and Mike Moore (1999-2003) finished with 100 wins.
TOP TEN: Brad Stevens became the tenth coach in Horizon League history to record 125 career victories while a member of the league earlier this season. He enters Butler's game against Wright State with 129 career wins, two behind his former boss, Todd Lickliter (2001-07) in ninth place on the league's overall wins list. Perry Watson of Detroit owns the league record with 261 victories from 1993 to 2008.
AWARD FINALIST: Senior Ronald Nored 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. Nored, a four-year starter, has excelled in the classroom, on the court and in the community during his four seasons with the Bulldogs. He earned first team Horizon League Academic All-League honors last year, and he's a former Horizon League Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He's one of two current collegiate players to see action in each of the past two Division I national championship games. Nored is the second Butler player in two years to be named a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Matt Howard was honored at the 2011 Final Four as one of 10 finalists for last season's award.
LOOKING AHEAD: Butler will face longtime foe Indiana State in this year's Sears BracketBuster X on Saturday, Feb. 18. The game at Hinkle Fieldhouse will tip at 2 p.m. (ET). Butler and Indiana State, former conference opponents in the Indiana Collegiate Conference (1950-77), have played 123 times through the years, with the last meeting coming in 2007-08. The Bulldogs, 4-3 all-time in BracketBusters' games, are returning to the late season event afte a one-year absence.
•Senior Ronald Nored became the fifth player in Butler basketball history to record 400 career assists in Butler's game at Loyola. He stands fifth on Butler's all-time assist chart with 410 career assists.
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assists (4.6) and in assist/turnover ratio (1.7). Nored has had 26 assists and eight turnovers in Butler's last five games.
•Ronald Nored ranks third in the Horizon League in steals (2.0).
•Ronald Nored is averaging 11.6 points against Horizon League foes.
•Ronald Nored had a career-high eight assists against Wright State at Hinkle Fieldhouse as a sophomore. He broke that mark at Loyola on Jan. 21.
•Ronald Nored had 11 points in 25 minutes against the Raiders in the first meeting this season.
•Junior Andrew Smith has averaged 12.9 points in Butler's 12 wins this season, but just 7.3 points in the Bulldogs' 11 losses. Butler is 11-3 when Smith scores in double-figures.
•Andrew Smith is averaging a team-best 11.6 points in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.
•Andrew Smith ranks third in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.5). He's tenth in total rebounds (5.7).
•Andrew Smith led the Bulldogs with 19 points against Wright State in the first meeting between the two teams this season. He hit a career-high eight field goals in that Butler win.
•Junior Chase Stigall has been Butler's second-leading scorer in home games this season with a 9.1 average. Stigall has averaged just 3.5 points in road games.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall came off the bench with 14 points in 20 minutes in Butler's win at Wright State earlier this month. He hit seven of eight shots in that game.
•Khyle Marshall continues to lead the Bulldogs in field goal shooting (.547). He ranks fifth in the Horizon League.
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins came off the bench with 10 points at Green Bay. It was his first double-figures performance of 2012.
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones is tied for fourth in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.5). Teammate Kameron Woods is seventh (2.2).
•Freshman Jackson Aldridge is sporting a new front tooth. Part of his front tooth was chipped off in a collision with Green Bay's Keifer Sykes in Saturday's game against the Phoenix.
•Butler head coach Brad Stevens is tied with Jim Crews of Evansville (1985-94) and Rob Jeter of Milwaukee (2005- ) for seventh place on the Horizon League's all-time list for league wins (68). Perry Watson of Detroit is the all-time leader with 131 victories.