Bulldogs Host No. 7 Louisville

Butler vs. No. 7 Louisville
Saturday, November 19, 2 p.m. (ET)
Hinkle Fieldhouse
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NATIONAL LOOK:  Butler will continue a four-game homestand against the highest-ranked foe to visit Hinkle Fieldhouse in nearly two decades.  The Bulldogs will host Top 10-ranked Louisville on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. (ET) in a contest that will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.  The Cardinals, ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press national poll and No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, are making their first appearance at Hinkle Fieldhouse since 1973 and just their fifth visit ever.  Head coach Rick Pitino’s squad is the highest-ranked team to play on Butler’s homecourt since 1992, when No. 5 North Carolina raced past the Bulldogs, 103-56.  The Cardinals are off to a 2-0 start, winning their first two contests by an average margin of 27.5 points.  Louisville led wire-to-wire in a victory over Tennessee-Martin and never trailed after the 17-minute mark of the first half in a 20-point win over Lamar.  Butler bounced back from a season-opening overtime loss at Evansville with a 57-46 victory at home over Chattanooga on Tuesday (Nov. 15).  The Chattanooga contest was the first of four games the Bulldogs will play in the Hoosier Invitational, which concludes at Indiana on Sunday, Nov. 27.                

Butler is 57-5 at Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.

HOME WORK:  Butler is playing seven of its first nine games at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  The Bulldogs, who won their final four home games last season, currently own a five-game homecourt winning streak.   Butler has won 28 of its last 30 home contests.

Butler has won 15 of 16 non-league games at home over the past three years.  

PULLING RANK:  Louisville is the first “Top 25” foe to visit Hinkle Fieldhouse since #13 Ohio State dropped a 74-66 decision to Butler on the Bulldogs’ homecourt in December of 2009.  Butler has had two nationally-ranked opponents visit Hinkle Fieldhouse during the tenure of head coach Brad Stevens, and the Bulldogs are 1-1 in those two games.

HOOSIER INVITATIONAL:  Butler’s game with nationally-ranked Louisville falls in the middle of the five team Hoosier Invitational.  The Bulldogs began the event at home against Chattanooga and will continue with home games against Savannah State on Monday (Nov. 21) and Gardner-Webb on Wednesday (Nov. 23).  Butler will play at Indiana on Sunday, Nov. 27.

HOME START:  Butler passed its first home test with a gritty defensive effort against Southern Conference favorite Chattanooga.  The Bulldogs held Chattanooga without a field goal for the final 13:30 of the game, while pulling away to an 11-point win.  Butler surrendered just five total field goals and 19 points in the second half.  The staunch defensive effort helped to offset Butler’s 37% shooting for the game, including 27.3% (6-22) from beyond the three-point arc.  The Bulldogs led 28-27 at halftime and never trailed in the final 20 minutes.

DOUBLE SHOT:  Junior Andrew Smith, who started 32 games for the Bulldogs a year ago, continued to establish himself as a major presence for the Bulldogs with another strong outing in Butler’s victory over Chattanooga.  The 6-11 center recorded his second career double-double with team-highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds against the Mocs.  He hit five of eight shots from the field, including one of two from beyond the three-point arc, and five of seven from the free throw line.  His 10 rebounds were one off his career-high, set last year against Loyola.  Smith led Butler in scoring in both preseason exhibition games, and he turned in the second-highest scoring performance of his career with 21 points in the Bulldogs’ season-opener at Evansville.  The former Covenant Christian High School star was Butler’s third-leading scorer (8.5) and second-leading rebounder (5.6) last season.

Andrew Smith finished second in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.593) in 2010-11.

LOCAL DEBUT:  Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins (right), who missed Butler’s two preseason exhibition games with a concussion, was in the Bulldogs’ starting lineup for the Chattanooga game.  It was the second start of his collegiate career and his first time in Butler’s starting lineup in Hinkle Fieldhouse.  He responded by scoring 12 points and posting career-highs of five rebounds and five assists in the Butler win.  Hopkins was given his first collegiate start at Evansville, and he wound up leading the Bulldogs with a career-high 22 points and a career-high five assists.  The 22 points were just 10 shy of his entire season total from a year ago!  In addition to his points and assists, Hopkins recorded career-highs for field goals (8), field goal attempts (19) and minutes played (39) against the Aces.

Chrishawn Hopkins hit his first collegiate three-point field goal against Louisville last year.         

FRESH LIFT:  All of Butler’s bench points against Chattanooga came from a pair of freshman forwards, making their first Butler appearance.  Kameron Woods came off the bench with four points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots in 21 minutes of action.  His seven rebounds were second-most for the Bulldogs in the victory, while his three blocked shots led the team.  Roosevelt Jones  chipped in with two points and five rebounds in 12 minutes on the floor.  The two accounted for five of Butler’s 12 offensive rebounds in the game.  Butler played four different freshmen against Chattanooga.  Guard Jackson Aldridge came off the bench with two assists and one rebound, while Andrew Smeathers added his first collegiate rebound to Butler’s total.

MAN OF STEAL:  Senior co-captain Ronald Nored helped spark Butler’s defensive effort against Chattanooga with a team-high four steals in the contest.  The former Horizon League Co-Defensive Player of the Year also led the Bulldogs with three steals against Evansville.  The four steals against Chattanooga matched the second-highest total of his Butler career, trailing only his five steals performances against Syracuse in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and against Valparaiso in 2009.  Nored, who’s been named to the Horizon League All-Defensive Team for two consecutive years, has topped the Bulldogs in steals for two straight seasons, and he’s heading into this weekend’s action with 148 career thefts.  Butler’s all-time record is 207 steals, set by Thomas Jackson, 1998-02.

Ronald Nored has had two or more steals in 43 career games at Butler.

FRENZIED FINISH:  Butler appeared to have won its season-opener at Evansville twice in the closing seconds, but ultimately the Bulldogs left the court with a three-point overtime loss.  Evansville, trailing 69-68, missed a final shot in the closing seconds and Butler looked to have survived as the ball bounced loose.  But the Bulldogs were called for a foul on the scramble for the loose ball with 0:00.9 left.  Evansville scoring leader Colt Ryan made one of two free throws to tie the game. Butler’s Emerson Kampen then threw a full-court pass to junior Andrew Smith, who turned and laid it in the basket as the final buzzer sounded.  The Bulldogs’ celebration was cut short, when the officials huddled and ruled that Smith was fouled with 0:00.2 left, before the shot.  The Butler center missed both free throw attempts, sending the game into overtime.
                      
NEW SEASON:  The Bulldogs have just two seniors, Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher, on this year’s squad and just five players who boast more than one season of experience.  Gone from last year’s 28-10 team, which won the Horizon League regular season and tournament championships and advanced to the national title game for a second straight year, are starters Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack and Shawn Vanzant, top reserve Zach Hahn and four-year letterwinners Grant Leiendecker and Alex Anglin.  Howard finished his career as Butler’s third all-time leading scorer and rebounder, while Mack was taken by the Washington Wizards in the second round of the NBA Draft.  The six departures accounted for 64% of Butler’s scoring and 48% of the squad’s rebounding a year ago.  This year’s squad features eight returning letterwinners and six freshmen.

QUICK START:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens, who picked up his 118th career win on Tuesday, owns the top spot on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Starts By Wins, 4 Years.  The Bulldogs’ coach completed last season with a four-year record of 117-25, topping the previous four-year mark of 107-22 set by Everett Case of North Carolina State (1947-50).  Stevens also holds the NCAA three-year record with 89 victories, and he’s second on the two-year list (56).

LOOKING BACK:  The 88 points Louisville rolled up in last year’s meeting with Butler were the most scored against the Bulldogs in 2010-11.  The Cardinals also had the highest 2010-11 totals for free throws (29) and free throw attempts (43) against the Bulldogs, and Louisville tied the highest single game total for steals (11) by a Butler opponent.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Senior Ronald Nored, who had five assists against Chattanooga, has moved into ninth place on Butler’s all-time assist chart.  Nored boosted his Butler career total to 313 assists, and moved ahead of Mike Monserez (310, 2001-04) on the all-time list.

Butler All-Time Assist Chart
    540    Thomas Jackson, 1998-2002
    471    Tim Bowen, 1989-93
    457    Jeff Rogers, 1994-98
    411    Darrin Fitzgerald, 1983-87
    357    Shelvin Mack, 2008-11
    323    Avery Sheets, 2002-06
    316    Mike Green, 2006-08
    316    A. J. Graves, 2004-08
    313    Ronald Nored, 2008-
    310    Mike Monserez, 2001-04
    
•Butler’s Ronald Nored is one of 30 candidates nominated for the 2011-12 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  The award is presented to one senior who has shown notable achievement in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition.  Former teammate Matt Howard was one of 10 finalists for the award a year ago.

•Ronald Nored has been named to the 25-player Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team.  The CollegeInsider.com team honors the top Mid-Major players in the nation. Nored joined Detroit’s Ray McCallum as the lone Horizon League players selected to this year’s preseason squad.  Butler’s Matt Howard was named the Lou Henson Player of the Year last season.

•Butler co-captains Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher both were in the starting lineup at Louisville last year.  Six other returning Butler players - Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall, Khyle Marshall, Erik Fromm, Chrishawn Hopkins and Emerson Kampen - also saw action in the game.

•Andrew Smith, who had just one three-point field goal attempt all of last year, has hit three of five long-range shots in Butler’s first two games this season.

•Andrew Smith was the lone Butler player named to the preseason All-Horizon League team.  The 6-11 Butler center earned second team All-League recognition on the preseason squad chosen by league coaches, media an sports information directors.

•Junior Chase Stigall had a career-high six rebounds at Evansville.  He played a career-high 35 minutes in the game.

•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins has averaged a league-high 38.5 minutes in his first two Butler starts.

•Sophomore Khyle Marshall has hit six of seven field goal attempts in Butler’s first two games, and he currently tops the Horizon League in field goal percentage.

•Junior Chase Stigall, who hit 40 three-point field goal a year ago, hit his first 2011-12 three-pointer in the closing minutes against Chattanooga to help Butler pull away from the Mocs.

•The Bulldogs are 50-4 in regular season play under coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-point field goals in a game.

•Butler is one of just three NCAA Division I schools to win at least 25 games in each of the last five seasons.  The other two are Kansas and BYU.

•Butler head coach Brad Stevens landed three recruits on the first day of the NCAA’s fall signing period.  Joining the Bulldogs’ 2012-13 freshman class were 6-5 Kellen Dunham of Pendleton Heights, 6-3 Devontae Morgan of Tampa, Fla., and 5-11 Chris Harrison-Docks of Okemos, Mich.  Dunham averaged 23.6 points and shot 43% from three-point range as a junior at Pendleton Heights High School, while Morgan averaged 17.3 points and 8.2 rebounds during his junior season at Tampa Prep.  Harrison-Docks averaged 23.0 points at Okemos High School.