Butler Faces Marquette In Maui Invitational Opener
TROPICAL GAME: Butler will travel nearly 4,300 miles to play an opponent that's located just 240 miles away. The Bulldogs will face Marquette in the first round of the 2012 Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui on Monday, Nov. 19. The opening game of the eight-team tournament will tip at 3:30 p.m. (ET, 10:30 a.m. in Hawaii) and will be televised on ESPN2. Butler will be playing in the Maui Invitational for the first time and will be facing Marquette for the first time in more than two decades. The two Midwest schools last played each other in March of 1991 at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs (1-1) are trying to bounce back from a 62-47 setback at Xavier on Tuesday, Nov. 13, while Marquette is looking to improve to 3-0 on the young season, following a 64-53 victory at home over Southeastern Louisiana. Both teams will play three games in Maui tournament, which wraps up on Nov. 21.
Butler is 7-2 in regular season tournament play under head coach Brad Stevens.
ISLAND HOPPING: Butler is returning to Hawaii for the second time in three seasons and for the fourth time overall. The Bulldogs won the eight-team Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu in December of 2010 in their last trip to the islands. Butler defeated Utah and Florida State to advance to the championship game of that tournament and then captured the title with a victory over Washington State, 84-68. The Bulldogs also advanced to the title game of the 2002 Rainbow Classic in Honolulu and to the championship game of the 1997 Big Island Invitational in Hilo.
Butler has won seven of nine previous games in Hawaii.
TOURNAMENT START: Butler successfully passed its first test in the 2012 EA Sports Maui Invitational with a 74-59 victory at home against Elon. The Bulldogs scored the first seven points in the contest, one of seven Opening Games in the tournament, and led by double-figures with just over six minutes gone. The margin grew to 17 points by halftime, but the visiting Phoenix opened the second half with a 17-4 run that cut Butler's lead to 47-43. The Bulldogs responded with back-to-back three-point field goals from senior Rotnei Clarke and freshman Kellen Dunham in a span of 17 seconds to regain control. Butler's lead remained at double-figures over the final 11:44 of the game, and the Bulldogs captured their home-opener for the 14th consecutive year.
SPLIT START: Butler started the 2012-13 campaign with a sizzling shooting performance in the first 20 minutes of its home-opener against Elon. The Bulldogs hit 16 of their first 26 shots (61.5%) in the contest and wound up shooting 50% (29-58) for the game. Three days later, Butler found itself on the opposite end of the shooting spectrum. The Bulldogs connected on just seven of 28 shots (25%) in the final 20 minutes at Xavier, while dropping a 15-point decision. After cutting Xavier's lead to 36-32 early in the second half, Butler managed just one field goal in the next nine minutes of the contest. The game at Xavier was a non-conference meeting arranged prior to Butler joining the Atlantic 10 Conference. The two teams will meet again as conference foes at Butler in March.
Butler has won its last 22 games when shooting 50% or better.
SOLID START: Freshman Kellen Dunham is the lone Butler player to score in double-figures in both of the team's games this season. The 6-6 guard came off the bench and scored 18 points against Elon in his first collegiate game to help the Bulldogs to a season-opening win. He had 10 points in the first half when the Bulldogs built a 43-26 lead. The 18 points set a Butler mark for most points scored by a freshman in his first game with the Bulldogs. The previous mark of 16 points was set by Jermaine Guice against Western Illinois in November of 1990. Dunham then tallied a team-high 11 points in a reserve stint at Xavier. He currently leads the Bulldogs with a 14.5 scoring average.
Kellen Dunham is the top-scoring freshman in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
BALL HAWK: Sophomore Roosevelt Jones only scored six points in Butler's season-opener, but that didn't diminish his contribution to the victory. Jones led all players on both teams with nine rebounds, while helping the Bulldogs to a commanding 39-20 rebounding advantage. He also led all players with a career-high six assists. Jones continued his work on the boards at Xavier, leading the Bulldogs with seven rebounds. He helped Butler to a 31-29 rebounding advantage in the game.
Roosevelt Jones led Butler in rebounding in 14 games a year ago.
POINT POSITION: Senior Rotnei Clarke lived up to his reputation as a scorer with a game-high 21 points in just 22 minutes in Butler's season-opening victory over Elon. At Xavier, the 6-0 backcourt player filled a more traditional point-guard role and led the Bulldogs with five of Butler's nine assists in the game. He also finished second on the team with five rebounds, while adding seven points. The five assists matched his career-high, set at Arkansas in 2009.
LEAD POSITION: Butler head coach Brad Stevens is in his sixth season at the helm of the Bulldogs, and he's won more games in his first five seasons than any other coach in NCAA history! His 139-40 career record heading into this season is No. 1 on the NCAA Division I list for Best Coaching Starts By Wins, 5 Seasons, topping the previous mark of 137-29, set by Everett Case of North Carolina State, 1947-51. Stevens also holds the Division I three-year (89) and four-year (117) records for wins.
NEUTRAL GROUND: Butler has fared well in neutral court games in five seasons under head coach Brad Stevens. The Bulldogs have compiled a 22-8 record on neutral courts over the past five years and two of those setbacks came in the NCAA Division I national championship game.
•Senior Andrew Smith is the only current college basketball player who has played in two Division I national championship games.
•Andrew Smith is one of 30 candidates nominated for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award. The award is presented to one NCAA Division I senior who has shown notable achievement in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition. Former Butler players Matt Howard (2010-11) and Ronald Nored (2011-12), each were selected as one of ten finalists for the award.
•Andrew Smith entered the 2012-13 campaign in sixth place on Butler's all-time list for field goal shooting. Smith has shot .546 from the field in his first three seasons with the Bulldogs.
•Andrew Smith only played nine minutes against Elon, before fouling out. He played 24 minutes at Xavier and scored nine points.
•Andrew Smith played in his 100th career game in Butler's season-opener. Smith has started 70 of Butler's last 72 games, including both Final Four games in 2011.
•Senior Rotnei Clarke is one of 50 players named to the Atlanta Tipoff Club 2012-13 Naismith Early Season Watch List.
•Rotnei Clarke's 21 points against Elon were the most by a player in his Butler debut since 2000, when Brandon Miller scored 26 points in his first game with the Bulldogs.
•Rotnei Clarke needs 20 three-point field goals to reach 300 for his collegiate career. Clarke has averaged nearly three three-pointers per game for his career.
•Rotnei Clarke was named second team on the Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason All-Conference Team.
•Senior Chase Stigall is six three-point field goals shy of 100 for his career.
•Forward Khyle Marshall, who led the Bulldogs in field goal shooting (.553) a year ago, entered the 2012-13 season in a tie for 11th place on Butler's career list for field goal shooting (.536). He shot .636 against Elon in Butler's season-opener.
•Khyle Marshall reached 300 rebounds for his career during Butler's victory over Elon. He now has 305 career rebounds.
•Seniors Andrew Smith and Chase Stigall and junior Khyle Marshall each played in all three games in the Diamond Head Classic on Butler's last visit to Hawaii. Marshall came off the bench with 11 points in Butler's opening game victory over Utah, while had 11 points in a reserve role against Florida State in the semifinals. Smith had 14 points and six rebounds in the Bulldogs' championship game victory over Washington State.
•Sophomore Kameron Woods is shooting a team-best .714 from the field through Butler's first two games.
•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones was picked to the Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason All-Defensive Team.
•Roosevelt Jones had a career-high six assists in Butler's season-opener against Elon. He shares the team lead (with Rotnei Clarke) in assists.
•Freshman Kellen Dunhan was named Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week, following his 18-point performance in Butler's season-opening win over Elon.
•Kellen Dunham was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason All-Rookie Team.
•Freshman Chris Harrison-Docks announced prior to the Elon game that he was leaving the team and would be transferring to another school. Harrison-Docks played briefly in Butler's two exhibition games.
•Head coach Brad Stevens, in his sixth season at the Bulldogs' helm, needs just three wins to catch Joe Sexson, 1977-89, in third place on Butler's all-time list for coaching wins.
•The top seven single season win totals in Butler basketball history have been recorded since Brad Stevens joined the Bulldogs' coaching staff. He's guided the Bulldogs to the No. 1 (33 in 2009-10), No. 2 (30 in 2007-08), No. 4 (28 in 2010-11) and No. 6-T (26 in 2008-09) win totals as Butler's head coach, and he served as an assistant coach on teams that posted the No. 3 (29 in 2006-07), No. 5 (27 in 2002-03) and No. 6-T (26 in 2001-02) totals.
•Butler added three men's basketball recruits on the first day of the NCAA's fall signing period. Joining the Bulldogs' 2013-14 freshman class were 6-10 Nolan Berry of Saint Louis, Mo., 6-7 Andrew Chrabascz of Portsmouth, R.I., and 6-2 Rene Castro of Milton, Mass. Berry, the grandson of former NBA player Ed Macauley, averaged 19.5 points and 9.2 rebounds as a junior at De Smet Jesuit H.S., while Chrabascz averaged 17 points and nine rebounds at 20-7 Cushing Academy (Mass.). Castro, the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year, averaged 23.4 points, while shooting 42% from three-point range, at Worcester (Mass.) Academy.