Butler will face two of the top four teams in the Horizon League on
the road this week, beginning with contest at Youngstown State on
Thursday, Feb. 9. The game against the Penguins at the
Beeghly Center will start at 7 p.m. (ET) and will be telecast on
ESPN3. Butler and Youngstown State will be meeting for the
second time in four weeks. The Bulldogs (13-12, 7-6 Horizon
League) won the first meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse, 71-55, on Jan.
15. Youngstown State (13-10, 8-5 HL), coming off a road
victory at Loyola, is currently tied with Milwaukee for third place
in the Horizon League, and the Penguins have already set a school
record for Horizon League wins with their eight league
victories. Head coach Jerry Slocum’s squad, which
stands 7-2 at the Beeghly Center this season, leads the Horizon
League in three-point field goals with 9.1 made per game, and the
Penguins feature four of the top 11 long-range shooters in the
conference, including league-leader Blake Allen (3.1/game).
The Bulldogs, who have played six of their past 10 games on the
road, will close out their two-game trip to Ohio at league-leading
Cleveland State on Saturday, Feb.
Butler is 3-1 at the Beeghly Center under head coach Brad Stevens.
SPLIT DECISION: Butler, playing at home for the first time since Jan. 15, came away with a two-game split last week. The Bulldogs defeated Wright State, 64-53, on Thursday (Feb. 2), before dropping a 65-61 decision to Detroit on Saturday (Feb. 4). The two outcomes left Butler in a tie with Detroit for fifth place in the league standings, one game behind Milwaukee and Youngstown State in a tie for third place.
MASH UNIT: The Bulldogs had a rough 24 hours leading up to halftime of the Detroit game. In practice the day before the Detroit contest, starters Ronald Nored and Khyle Marshall collided during a drill. Both were helped off the court, and both sat out the rest of the practice. Marshall was sidelined for the Detroit game with concussion symptoms, while Nored was cleared to play against the Titans. Three minutes into the Detroit contest, Nored dove for a loose ball and crashed face-first into the floor. He suffered a broken front tooth and a cut lower lip. The 6-0 senior left the game, but returned 11 minutes later with a badly swollen lip and a partial front tooth. Marshall’s status will be evaluated throughout the week.
LAST OUTING: Butler missed five shots in the final minute, including a pair of three-point field goal attempts that would have tied the game, and wound up dropping a four-point decision to visiting Detroit. The Bulldogs battled back from a nine-point, second half deficit and trailed by just three, 62-59, with less than a minute to play. But three missed lay-ups and the two missed three-pointers on three possessions in the final 0:45 ended Butler’s comeback attempt. The Bulldogs, who had their second-best shooting performance (46.7%) of the season two nights earlier in their victory over Wright State, shot just 35.3% (18-51) against Detroit, including just 21% (4-19) from beyond the three-point arc.
INSIDE JOB: Butler picked up a pair of double-figures scoring performances from junior Andrew Smith (above right) during the team’s brief, two-game homestand. Smith was perfect from the field (4-4) and from the free throw line (2-2), while scoring 11 points in the Bulldogs’ victory over Wright State. He followed that with a team-high, 18-point performance against Detroit. The 6-11 center hit 10 of 13 (.769) shots in the two games and eight of 10 free throws. His effort against Detroit was his highest single game output since Jan. 15, when he scored 20 points in Butler’s victory over Youngstown State.
Andrew Smith ranks seventh in the Horizon League in FG% (.525).
CAREER MOVES: Senior Ronald Nored, who moved into fourth place on Butler’s all-time assist chart during the Bulldogs’ victory over Wright State, matched his career-high with nine assists against Detroit. It was the second time in five games that the Butler point-guard recorded nine assists, and it boosted his career total to 423 assists. He trails Jeff Rogers (1994-98) in third place on the all-time chart by 34 assists. Thomas Jackson (1998-2002) is Butler’s all-time leader with 540 career assists.
Ronald Nored has had career-highs
for points (18), rebounds (9) and assists (9) in Butler’s
last 13 games.
MATCH GAME: Since Christmas, freshman Roosevelt Jones (right) has recorded career-highs for both points and rebounds. Against Detroit, he matched both. Jones led all players in the game with a career-high 12 rebounds, and he finished second on the team in scoring with a career-best 16 points. It was his second career double-double and the fourth time this season that he’s had at least 11 rebounds in a game.
CENTURY CLUB: Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher became just the fourth senior class in Butler basketball history to record 100 career victories. The two have helped Butler to a 100-32 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 at Youngstown State with 130 career wins, one 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) and will be televised on WNDY-TV. 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 after a one-year absence.
•Senior Ronald Nored had three steals on Butler’s brief homestand, boosting his career total to 191. He stands second on Butler’s all-time list for thefts behind career-leader Thomas Jackson (207 from 1998-2002).
•Ronald Nored ranks third in the Horizon League in steals (2.0).
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assists (4.8) and stands third in assist/turnover ratio (1.8). Nored has had 25 assists and 11 turnovers in Butler’s last five games.
•Ronald Nored is shooting a team-best .429 (9-21) from beyond the three-point arc in Butler’s 11 road games this season.
•Ronald Nored has hit 25 of his last 27 free throw attempts. He’s shooting .923 from the free throw line over Butler’s last five games.
•Ronald Nored matched his career-high with nine rebounds against Youngstown State last month.
•Junior Andrew Smith has shot .604 from the field, .529 from beyond the three-point arc and averaged 12.8 points in Butler’s 13 wins this season.
•Andrew Smith is averaging a team-best 11.1 points against league foes.
•Andrew Smith had 11 points and six rebounds in Butler’s game at the Beeghly Center last year.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall continues to lead the Bulldogs in field goal shooting (.552). He ranks fourth in the Horizon League.
•Khyle Marshall has been Butler’s leading scorer on the road this season with a 10.4 average.
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins has hit 17 consecutive free throws.
•Sophomore Erik Fromm, who played less than a minute against Youngstown State last month, has had 10 points each against Green Bay, Wright State and Detroit in Butler’s last three games.
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones leads the Bulldogs and ranks seventh in the Horizon League in rebounding (6.1).
•Roosevelt Jones has scored a career-high 16 points in three of Butler’s last six games.
•Roosevelt Jones ranks third in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.6). Jones had eight offensive rebounds in Butler’s two games last week.
•Freshman Kameron Woods came off the bench with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Youngstown State last month.
•Butler head coach Brad Stevens is tied for seventh place on the Horizon League’s all-time list for league wins with Rob Jeter of Milwaukee. Both enter this week with 69 career league victories, three behind Loyola’s Gene Sullivan (1980-89) in sixth place on the all-time list.