Bulldogs Begin New Year At Home Against Penn

Senior Andrew Smith (Photo by John Fetcho)

Butler vs. Penn
Wednesday, January 2, 7 p.m. (ET)
Hinkle Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, Ind.
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FIRST SHOT:  Butler will begin 2013 at home with a non-conference test against Penn on Wednesday, Jan. 2.  The game at Hinkle Fieldhouse against the Ivy League squad is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on WNDY-TV.  Butler closed out the 2012 portion of its schedule with a 68-49 victory at Vanderbilt on Dec. 29.  It was the seventh consecutive victory for the nationally-ranked Bulldogs, who improved to 10-2 on the season.  The victory also gave the Bulldogs a 24-10 record for the 2012 calendar year.  Penn slipped to 2-9 with an overtime loss to Wagner, 68-63, on Saturday (Dec. 29) in its last outing.  The Quakers will be making their first visit to Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Butler and Penn met at the Palestra in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational last March, and the Bulldogs advanced to the postseason tournament's semifinals with a 63-53 victory.

Butler has won its first game in January in seven consecutive seasons.                
                  
POLLING DATA:  Butler is ranked in the "Top 25" of both the Associated Press national poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll for the third consecutive week.  The Bulldogs are No. 17 in the week's A.P. poll and No. 20 in the coaches poll.  Butler's victory over top-ranked Indiana on Dec. 15 vaulted the Bulldogs into the "Top 25" of both major national polls for the first time this season.  The Bulldogs joined the Associated Press "Top 25" at No. 19 and the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 25.  Butler has appeared in the national "Top 25" in six of the past seven seasons.

HOME COURT:  The Bulldogs, who are 5-0 in Hinkle Fieldhouse this year, have won at least 10 home games in each of the past 17 seasons.  Butler was 13-6 in the Fieldhouse a year ago, and the Bulldogs are 170-25 at home since the start of the 1999-2000 season.

Butler is 74-11 in Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.

SUCCESSFUL RUN:  The Bulldogs won all six of their December games and enter the Penn contest with a seven-game winning streak.  The success streak includes four home decisions, two road victories and a neutral court win over top-ranked Indiana.  It's the seventh time since Brad Stevens took over as Butler's head coach that the Bulldogs have had a winning streak of at least seven games.

FINISHING TOUCH:  The Bulldogs used a sizzling second-half shooting performance to turn a three-point halftime lead into a 19-point victory at Vanderbilt.  Both teams struggled to find the range in the first 20 minutes, and Butler went to the locker room at halftime with a narrow, 25-22, advantage.  That lead grew quickly when the Bulldogs opened the second half with a 14-3 scoring run, hitting six of their first nine shots.  Vanderbilt never got closer than 10 points in the final 16 minutes of the contest.  Butler wound up hitting 13 of 20 (.650) shots in the final 20 minutes, including six of eight (.750) from beyond the three-point arc.  The Bulldogs out-scored Vanderbilt, 43-27, after intermission.

Butler is 8-0 this season when leading at halftime.     
 
LEAD POSITION:  Butler senior Rotnei Clarke posted his tenth consecutive double-figures scoring performance and led the Bulldogs with a game-high 22 points at Vanderbilt.  Clarke, who scored 36 points in Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym as a junior at Arkansas, sparked Butler's second-half surge against the Commodores by hitting five of seven shots and scoring 16 points after intermission.  The 6-0 guard has scored in double-figures 11 times in 12 games, including a season-high 27 points against Illinois in the championship game of the Maui Invitational, and he's has averaged 18.9 points over Butler's last ten contests. He's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in nine of the Bulldogs' first 12 games.  

Rotnei Clarke ranks second in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (18.1 ppg).

LEAGUE HONOR:  Freshman Kellen Dunham came off the bench to help lead Butler to its road victory at Vanderbilt, and his performance earned him Co-Rookie of the Week honors in the Atlantic 10 Conference.  Dunham scored 12 points, grabbed two rebounds and had two assists in 26 minutes of action against the Commodores.  The 6-6 guard scored 10 of his points in the second half when the Bulldogs took control of the game.  He hit four of eight shots from the field, including two of five from beyond the three-point arc, and he finished as Butler's second-leading scorer.  He shared the weekly honor with Quevyn Winters of Duquesne, who scored 14 points in loss to Penn State.  Dunham has earned Rookie of the Week honors three times this season.

SHARP SHOOTING:  Senior Rotnei Clarke and freshman Kellen Dunham put on a long-range shooting clinic in the second half to help spark the Bulldogs past Vanderbilt.  Clarke connected on four of five shots from beyond the three-point arc in the final 20 minutes against the Commodores, while Dunham converted both of his three-point attempts.  The two combined to score 26 of Butler's 43 second half points.  Clarke missed his first two three-point field goal attempts in the game, before connecting on six of his final seven!  The six three-pointers matched his season-high.  

ON TARGET:  Senior Andrew Smith had one streak snapped at Vanderbilt, but he continued another.  The 6-11 Butler center had scored in double-figures in six consecutive games prior to the trip to Nashville, Tenn., but he finished with just eight points in the victory over the Commodores.  Smith did hit four of seven shots in the game, giving him a 50% or better shooting percentage in seven consecutive games.  Over the past seven contests, Smith has been shooting at a sizzling 70.4% (38-54) clip.  He's connected on 75% (21-28) of his shots in his last four games in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
 
BOARD WORK:  The Bulldogs, led by junior Khyle Marshall and sophomore Kameron Woods, out-rebounded Vanderbilt, 42-27.  Marshall led all players with 11 rebounds, including a game-high nine defensive boards, while Woods came off the bench to add nine rebounds.  The Bulldogs, who lead the Atlantic 10 Conference in rebounding margin (+7.9), have had a rebounding advantage over their opponent in ten of their first 12 games this season.  Butler leads the A-10 in offensive rebounding percentage (.395), while ranking second in the league in defensive rebounding percentage (.720).

Butler matched its season-high (set against Hanover) with 42 rebounds at Vanderbilt.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Senior Andrew Smith played in his 100th career game in Butler's season-opener.  Smith has started 79 of Butler's last 81 games, including both Final Four games in 2011.

•Andrew Smith ranks second in the Atlantic 10 Conference in field goal percentage (.590).

•Andrew Smith stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal percentage (.552).

•Andrew Smith has averaged 14.3 points during Butler's current seven-game winning streak.

•Butler is 8-0 this season when Andrew Smith scores in double-figures.

•Andrew Smith needs 115 points to become the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points.

•Andrew Smith needs eight rebounds to reach 500 for his Butler career.

•Senior Rotnei Clarke has been named to the watch list for the 2013 Bob Cousy Award, presented to the nation's top point-guard.  Finalists will be announced in January.

•Rotnei Clarke played in his 100th career game in Butler's win over IUPUI.  He had his 100th career start one game later at Northwestern.

•Rotnei Clarke leads the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (4.17).  Clarke has had at least four three-pointers in nine of Butler's first 12 games.

•Rotnei Clarke has averaged 3.1 three-point field goals per game for his career.

•Rotnei Clarke has hit a three-point field goal in each of his last 24 collegiate games, dating back to his final season at Arkansas.

•Rotnei Clarke ranks fourth in the A-10 and 13th in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goal percentage (.472).

•Senior Chase Stigall needs one three 3-point field goal to reach 100 for his career.

•Junior Khyle Marshall recorded his fourth career double-double with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds at Penn last year.  He currently has five career double-doubles.

•Khyle Marshall ranks ninth in the A-10 in field goal shooting (.544).

•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones stands 13th in the A-10 in field goal shooting (.527).

•Sophomore Kameron Woods has come off the bench with 21 rebounds in Butler's last two outings.

•Sophomore Alex Barlow matched his career scoring-high with six points at Vanderbilt.

•Freshman Kellen Dunham leads the A-10 and ranks third in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.953).  He had a streak of 26 consecutive free throws made earlier this season, and he currently has hit his last nine free throw attempts.

•Kellen Dunham has hit 26 of 27 (.963) free throws during Butler's current seven-game winning streak.

•The Bulldogs out-rebounded Penn, 44-28, last March, including 18 offensive rebounds.  Butler scored 18 "second chance" points.

•Butler has five "Top 10" wins under head coach Brad Stevens.  The Bulldogs defeated #4 Syracuse and #7 Kansas State in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and #4 Pittsburgh in the 2011 national tournament, prior to beating #1 Indiana and #9 North Carolina this season.

•Butler has won its last 14 games when holding its opponent under 60 points.

•Butler is 57-6 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.