Butler will end a week off for final exams with another major test
when it faces Purdue on Saturday, Dec. 17, in the opening game of
the Close The Gap Crossroads Classic. The contest between the
two central Indiana squads is scheduled for 2 p.m. (ET) at Conseco
Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and will be televised nationally on
CBS. The Bulldogs (4-6) are trying to snap a three-game
losing skid for just the second time since 2004-05.
Butler also dropped three straight games a year ago, before reeling
off 14 consecutive wins and reaching the NCAA Division I national
championship game. The Bulldogs dropped their most recent
game at Ball State, 58-55, on Saturday (Dec. 10). Purdue
(9-2) has wins in five of its last six games, including
back-to-back victories over Western Carolina and Eastern Michigan
in its most recent outings. Butler and Purdue are meeting for
the first time since the 2006 Wooden Tradition, won by the Bulldogs
at Conseco Fieldhouse, 68-65. The second game of the
Crossroads Classic will pit No. 18 Indiana against Notre Dame at
Butler has won four straight games at Conseco Fieldhouse.
HOLIDAY CHALLENGE: Butler’s current five-game, pre-Christmas schedule includes four teams that are either nationally-ranked or receiving votes in the national polls. The Bulldogs, coming off games with #8 Xavier, and 6-2 Ball State, will face Purdue (RV), Gonzaga (RV, Dec. 20), and once-beaten Stanford (RV, Dec. 22) prior to Christmas. Butler has already played No. 7 Louisville and unbeaten Indiana (currently No. 18).
Butler’s next three opponents boast a combined 22-5 record.
CLASSIC REVISITED: The gathering of Butler, Purdue, Indiana and Notre Dame for the Crossroads Classic has invoked memories of the original Hoosier Classic, hosted by the Bulldogs. The same four teams met for two days over the holidays at Hinkle Fieldhouse from 1947 to 1951 and again from 1957 to 1959. While an official championship trophy wasn’t awarded, a tally was kept on “Mythical Champions” based on the game results. Indiana claimed the “Mythical” title four times, while Butler finished on top twice. Purdue and Notre Dame each prevailed once. Indiana left the Classic after the 1959 event.
LATE CHARGE: Butler erased a 13-point deficit in the second half, but the Bulldogs couldn’t come up with the go-ahead score and wound up dropping a three-point decision at Ball State. The host Cardinals jumped to a 21-8 lead in the contest and went to the locker room at halftime with a 32-24 advantage. But the Bulldogs charged back and eventually tied the game at 42-42 with nine and a half minutes remaining. The score was tied for a final time at 54-54 with under a minute remaining when Jarrod Jones hit a jump shot to put Ball State in front for good. The Bulldogs’ final comeback attempt was foiled by a missed field goal and two turnovers in the final minute.
DOUBLE THREAT: Sophomore Khyle Marshall (right) came off the bench with a career-best scoring and rebounding performance at Ball State. The 6-6 forward shared game scoring honors with a career-high 21 points, and he led all players with a career-best 16 rebounds. Marshall, who accomplished his lofty numbers in just 26 minutes of action, scored 13 of his points in the final 20 minutes to fuel Butler’s comeback attempt. His last field goal with 1:20 remaining tied the game for the final time at 54-54. Marshall, who leads Butler in field goal shooting (.566), hit nine of 15 shots from the floor and three of four from the free throw line at Ball State.
Khyle Marshall has taken the team lead in scoring after ten games (10.5).
BOARD ROOM: Butler, led by sophomore Khyle Marshall, won the rebounding battle at Ball State, 42-38. It was the fourth straight game that the Bulldogs out-rebounded their opponent and the sixth time in ten games this season. The Bulldogs pulled down 19 offensive rebounds against Ball State and turned those into 14 second chance points. It was the fifth straight game that the Bulldogs grabbed at least 16 offensive rebounds. Marshall led all players with five offensive rebounds and 16 total boards.
CHARITABLE ISSUE: The Bulldogs wound up out-scoring Ball State from the field, despite shooting just 31% for the game. But the Cardinals went to the free throw line 31 times and finished with a seven-point advantage from the charity stripe. Ball State made as many free throws as Butler attempted. It was the third straight game and the seventh time overall this season that Butler was out-scored at the free throw line.
Butler has been out-scored at the free throw line, 143-90, in its six losses.
ASSIST CLIMB: Ronald Nored edged closer to the No. 5 spot on Butler’s all-time assist chart with three assists against Ball State. He currently stands sixth on Butler’s all-time list with 355 career assists, two assists shy of former teammate and current Washington Wizards guard 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
355 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 (5.1).
STEAL WORKS: Ronald Nored heads into Butler’s game against Purdue in fourth place on Butler’s all-time list for steals with 166 career thefts. Darren Fowlkes stands third on the all-time list with 176 steals from 1985-89. Butler’s all-time record for steals in 207, set by Thomas Jackson, 1998-2002.
Ronald Nored is second on the Horizon League list of Active Career Leaders in Steals.
FRESH APPROACH: Freshmen Roosevelt Jones and Jackson Aldridge both played prominent roles for the Bulldogs at Ball State. Jones, in his fourth game as a starter, played a team-high 34 minutes against the Cardinals and finished with seven points, five rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Aldridge came off the bench with eight points, two rebounds and a team-high four assists in 21 minutes. He hit two of Butler’s three three-point field goals in the game.
NEUTRAL SHIFT: Butler will be playing its first neutral site game this season when it faces Purdue, but the Bulldogs haven’t been strangers to neutral sites under head coach Brad Stevens. In the past four seasons, Butler has played 28 games on a neutral court. The Bulldogs are 20-8 in those contests, including wins in nine of their last 10 neutral court games.
•Butler has had five different players lead the team in scoring and two other players share the team lead in scoring in the first 10 games this season.
•Senior Ronald Nored is closing in on his 100th career start. Nored enters the Purdue game with 99 career starting assignments.
•Ronald Nored leads the Horizon League in assist/turnover ratio (1.9).
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in steals (2.5). Nored has had three or more steals in six of Butler’s 10 games this season.
•Ronald Nored is the active career leader in assists in the Horizon League with 355.
•Junior Andrew Smith, who grabbed four offensive rebounds at Ball State, ranks 10th in the Horizon League in rebounding (6.3). He’s sixth in the league in offensive rebounds (2.6).
•Andrew Smith has averaged 13.0 points in Butler’s four wins this season, but just 7.8 points in the Bulldogs’ six losses.
•Junior Chase Stigall, who connected on one three-point field goal at Ball State, stands second in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (2.2). Stigall has hit at least one three-point field goal in Butler’s last nine games.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall posted the highest rebounding total for a Butler player this season with his 16-rebound effort at Ball State. It was the most rebounds by a Butler player since last January, when Matt Howard pulled down 16 caroms against Green Bay.
•Khyle Marshall’s rebound total at Ball State is the second-highest recorded in the Horizon League this season. James Haarsma of Milwaukee grabbed 17 rebounds against S.W. Minnesota State.
•Khyle Marshall is the lone Butler player shooting better than 50% from the field this season. Marshall ranks fifth in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.566).
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins has averaged 15.0 points away from Hinkle Fieldhouse this season. He’s scored at least 19 points in two of the Bulldogs’ three road contests.
•Chrishawn Hopkins is third in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.840). He had a streak of 16 consecutive free throws made snapped with a miss against Valparaiso.
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones is averaging 8.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in four games as a Butler starter. He’s scored in double-figures in two of Butler’s last three games.
•Roosevelt Jones has shot 56% (14-25) from the field in the second half this season, but just 23% (6-26) in the first half.
•Roosevelt Jones ranks third in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (3.1). Freshman Kameron Woods is fifth (2.7).
•Freshman Jackson Aldridge has moved into sixth place in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (.792). Aldridge hit five of six free throw attempts against Xavier.
•Butler’s last game in the original Hoosier Classic at Hinkle Fieldhouse was a 65-63 victory over Purdue in 1960.