Butler Hosts Eighth-Ranked Xavier
RATED FOE: For
the second time in less than a month, Butler will host a “Top
10” opponent at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs will
face No. 8 Xavier in a nationally-televised (ESPN) game on
Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 9 p.m. (ET). Xavier (6-0), one of 15
unbeaten teams in the nation, is coming off a 66-63 victory over
Purdue. The Musketeers trailed by 19 points with under 11
minutes to go in that contest at the Cintas Center, but rallied
behind Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week Tu Holloway to
pull out the win. Holloway scored a game-high 21 points,
including eight in the final 1:05, to spark the comeback.
Butler (4-4) is looking to bounce back from a 77-71 overtime loss
at home to Valparaiso in the Horizon League-opener for both
teams. It was Butler’s second overtime loss this
season. The Bulldogs lost their league-opener for the
first time since 2004-05. Earlier this season, Butler hosted
No. 7 Louisville. This is the first time in school history
that the Bulldogs have hosted two “Top 10” teams in the
Butler is 3-5 against “Top 10” opponents under head coach Brad Stevens.
HOME TURF: Butler is closing out a stretch of seven home games in its first nine contests this season. The Bulldogs, who ended last season with a five-game homecourt winning streak, have wins in nine of their last 11 home games. Overall, the Bulldogs have won 31 of their last 35 Hinkle Fieldhouse games.
Butler is 60-7 at Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.
RANKING ORDER: Butler’s last victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse over a nationally-ranked opponent came on Dec. 12, 2009, when the Bulldogs defeated #13 Ohio State, 74-66. The only other ranked team to play the Bulldogs in the Fieldhouse since then was #7 Louisville last month. The last time Xavier came to Hinkle Fieldhouse with a “Top 25” ranking was in November of 1998, and the No. 16 Musketeers escaped with a 73-66 win.
CHALLENGING STRETCH: Three of Butler’s next five opponents are ranked among the nation’s top 35 teams, beginning with No. 8 Xavier. The Bulldogs will visit No. 23 Gonzaga on Dec. 20, and No. 32 Stanford on Dec. 22. Butler’s other two games before Christmas are at 4-2 Ball State (Dec. 10) and against 7-2 Purdue in the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 17.
Butler’s next five opponents boast a combined 30-6 record.
HEATED MOMENT: Visiting Valparaiso used a hot hand at the beginning and again at the end to pick up its first victory at Butler in more than two decades The Crusaders shot 56% in the first half, while building a 39-32 halftime lead, but then had to come from behind in the second half to send the game into overtime. In the extra session, the visitors connected on all four field goal attempts, while Butler managed to hit just one of seven from the field. Valparaiso shot 52.9% (27-51) for the game, while the Bulldogs made just 24 of 70 field goal attempts. It was Valparaiso’s first win at Hinkle Fieldhouse since 1988!
Butler’s field goal percentage against Valparaiso (34.3%) was a season-low.
SCORING GUARD: Butler point-guard Ronald Nored (right), one of the leaders in assists in the Horizon League, took on the additional responsibility of scorer against Valparaiso and wound up with a career-best performance. The 6-0 senior from Alabama led the Bulldogs with a career-high 17 points, including 10 after intermission. His free throw with 0:20 remaining tied the game at 64-64 and proved to be the final point of regulation play. Nored led the Bulldogs in scoring for just the second time in his career. The first came against Murray State in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
HELPING HAND: Ronald Nored led the Bulldogs in assists for the seventh straight game and continued his climb on Butler’s all-time assist chart with a game-high six assists against Valparaiso. It was the sixth time this season that the 6-0 guard recorded at least five assists in a game. Nored currently stands in sixth place on Butler’s all-time list with 347 career assists, 10 assists shy of former teammate Shelvin Mack (2008-11) in the No. 5 spot on the career 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
347 Ronald Nored, 2008-
323 Avery Sheets, 2002-06
316 Mike Green, 2006-08
316 A. J. Graves, 2004-08
310 Mike Monserez, 2001-04
Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assists (5.4).
STEAL WORKS: Ronald Nored, who had two steals at Xavier last year, enters this week’s action with 164 career thefts. Butler’s all-time record for steals in 207, set by Thomas Jackson, 1998-2002.
SECOND CHANCE: The Bulldogs, paced by 6-8 freshman Kameron Woods, finished with a 45-36 rebounding advantage over Valparaiso. Woods pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds, including a game-high six offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs compiled a sizeable, 22-6, advantage on the offensive boards, but only turned those rebounds into 15 second chance points. It was the second straight game that Butler pulled down more than 20 offensive rebounds.
DOUBLE UP: Freshman Kameron Woods posted his second consecutive double-double with career-highs of 10 points and 11 rebounds against Valparaiso. The 6-8 forward also had 10 points and 11 rebounds in Butler’s victory over Oakland City four days earlier. He became the first Butler freshman with back-to-back double-doubles since current Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward accomplished the feat in 2008-09. Woods recorded his two double-doubles in his first two games as a collegiate starter.
COMFORT ZONE: Junior Chase Stigall came off the bench and connected on a team-high three three-point field goals against Valparaiso. One game earlier, he hit a career-best five three-pointers in Butler’s victory over Oakland City. Stigall has hit 18 of his team-high 19 three-point field goals this season in Hinkle Fieldhouse. The 6-3 guard leads the Bulldogs in scoring at home with an 11.0 average. He’s had four double-figures scoring performances in Butler last five games in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Five of Chase Stigall’s six career double-digit scoring performances have come at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
CAREER MOVES: Freshman Roosevelt Jones, getting his second collegiate start, matched his career scoring high with 10 points against Valparaiso. He also matched his career rebounding high with six boards against the Crusaders. The 6-4 forward from O’Fallon, Ill., posted his first career double-figures scoring performance against Savannah State on Nov. 21, and he grabbed six rebounds in that same game. He also pulled down six rebounds in Butler’s win over Oakland City in his first collegiate start.
COACHING CLIMB: Head coach Brad Stevens, who’s in just his fifth season at the Bulldogs’ helm, currently stands fifth on Butler’s all-time list for coaching victories. The young Butler coach enters this weekend’s action with a 121-29 career record. Stevens’ former boss, Todd Lickliter, is fourth on Butler’s all-time list for coaching victories with 131 in six seasons, 2001-07.
•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 was 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.
•Ronald Nored is averaging 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game in Butler’s six home games this season.
•Ronald Nored is closing in on his 100th career start. Nored enters the Xavier game with 97 career starting assignments.
•Ronald Nored became the fifth different player to lead the Bulldogs in scoring in the past six games with his 17 points against Valparaiso.
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in steals (2.9).
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assist/turnover ratio (2.0).
•Junior Andrew Smith leads the Bulldogs and ranks sixth in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds with 21 (2.9) in Butler’s eight games. Smith stands sixth overall in the league in rebounding (6.8).
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall leads the Bulldogs and ranks third in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.604). He’s one of just three players in the league shooting better than 60% from the field.
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins, who hit three of five free throw attempts against Valparaiso, ranks fourth in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.840). Hopkins had made 16 consecutive free throws before missing against Valparaiso.
•Freshman Kameron Woods matched his career-high with three blocked shots against Valparaiso. The 6-8 forward also had three blocked shots against Chattanooga.
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones played a career-high 38 minutes against Valparaiso. His previous high was 22 minutes against Savannah State. Jones was in the starting lineup for the second time this season.
•Freshman Andrew Smeathers is shooting a team-best .583 from the three-point arc in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Smeathers has hit seven of 12 three-point attempts at home.
•The Bulldogs are 51-4 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 - 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.