Bulldogs Close Pre-Conference Slate At Home
FINAL PREP: Butler will face its final test before the start of Atlantic 10 Conference play when its hosts first-time foe New Orleans on Saturday, Jan. 5. The game at Hinkle Fieldhouse will tip at 2 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on WNDY-TV. Butler successfully passed its first 2013 test with a 70-57 victory at home over Penn on Wednesday (Jan. 2). The win was the eighth in a row for the Bulldogs, and it lifted Butler to 11-2 on the season. New Orleans, on the second leg of a three-game road trip, fell to 3-9 with a 97-46 setback at Mississippi State on Thursday (Jan. 3). The Privateers, who have not played a home game since Dec. 12, will conclude their current road stretch at San Jose State in California on Tuesday (Jan. 8). Butler will begin conference play at A-10 preseason favorite Saint Joseph's on Wednesday (Jan. 9).
Butler is off to its best start since 2008-09, when the Bulldogs won 19 of their first 20 games.
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 6-0 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 171-25 at home since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
Butler is 75-11 in Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.
HOLIDAY RUN: The Bulldogs, who were unbeaten in December, enter the contest against New Orleans with an eight-game winning streak. That streak includes five 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 eight games.
INSIDE APPROACH: Butler offset a frigid outside shooting performance with a strong inside attack and pulled away to a 70-57 victory over visiting Penn on Wednesday (Jan. 2). The Bulldogs hit just 21.1% from beyond the three-point arc, while matching their season-low of just four three-point field goals. But forwards Roosevelt Jones and Khyle Marshall combined to hit 17 of 25 (68%) shots inside the arc to fuel Butler's offense. Jones scored 15 points in the first half, helping Butler to a 35-29 halftime lead. Marshall tallied ten points in the second half, when the Bulldogs stretched their lead to as many as 16 points. Penn, behind 53% (8-15) three-point shooting, kept the game close for the first 31 minutes, but the Bulldogs used a 10-0 run to stretch a 52-49 lead to 62-49 with 5:18 remaining. The Quakers never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Butler is 9-0 this season when leading at halftime.
BOARDING HOUSE: The Bulldogs, led sophomore Kameron Woods, out-rebounded Penn, 36-21. Woods came off the bench with a game-high eight rebounds, including a team-high four offensive boards. Butler pulled down 13 total offensive rebounds and out-scored the Quakers, 18-4, on "second chance" points. The Bulldogs, who lead the Atlantic 10 Conference in rebounding margin (+8.4), have had a rebounding advantage over their opponent in 11 of their first 13 games this season. Butler leads the A-10 in offensive rebounding percentage (.397), while ranking second in the league in defensive rebounding percentage (.730).
EFFICIENT EVENING: Sophomore Roosevelt Jones was limited to 29 minutes against Penn, because of foul problems, but that didn't stop him from turning in a career-best performance. The 6-4 forward led all players with a career-high 24 points, while adding six rebounds, a team-high three assists, a pair of steals and the Bulldogs' lone blocked shot. He connected on a career-best ten field goals in 15 attempts and added four of seven shots from the free throw line. Jones scored 15 points in 17 minutes in the first half and nine points in 12 minutes in the final period. His previous scoring high was 17 points against both Cleveland State and Milwaukee as a freshman.
Roosevelt Jones is shooting 61.4% (27-44) over Butler's last five games.
HOT SHOTS: Butler boasts three of the top eight field goal shooters in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Junior Khyle Marshall took over Butler's lead with his seven of 10 shooting performance against Penn, and he now stands sixth in the conference with a .558 field goal percentage. Senior Andrew Smith is right behind in seventh place with a .556 mark, while sophomore Roosevelt Jones stands eighth at .553. Sophomore Kameron Woods is shooting .594 on the year, but he doesn't have enough field goals made to qualify for the league rankings. As a team, Butler ranks second in the conference with a .464 team shooting percentage.
STREAK SNAPPED: Butler senior Rotnei Clarke had his streak of ten consecutive games in double-figures snapped against Penn. Clarke posted a season-low six points against the Quakers, including just one of nine shots from beyond the three-point arc. The 6-0 guard has scored in double-figures 11 times in 13 games, including a season-high 27 points against Illinois in the championship game of the Maui Invitational. He's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in nine of the Bulldogs' first 13 games.
Rotnei Clarke ranks third in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (17.2 ppg).
LEAGUE HONOR: Freshman Kellen Dunham came off the bench to help lead Butler to its road victory at Vanderbilt on Dec. 29, and his performance earned him Co-Rookie of the Week honors this week 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 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.
•Senior Andrew Smith played in his 100th career game in Butler's season-opener against Elon. Smith has started 80 of Butler's last 82 games, including both Final Four games in 2011.
•Andrew Smith is shooting 61.1% (22-36) in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season. He's shooting 63.9% during Butler's current winning streak.
•Andrew Smith stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal percentage (.548).
•Andrew Smith has averaged 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds over Butler's past eight games.
•Butler is 8-0 this season when Andrew Smith scores in double-figures.
•Andrew Smith needs 106 points to become the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points.
•Andrew Smith needs three 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 home win over IUPUI. He had his 100th career start one game later at Northwestern.
•Rotnei Clarke ranks second in the A-10 in three-point field goals made per game (3.9). Clarke has had at least four three-pointers in nine of Butler's first 13 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 25 collegiate games, dating back to his final season at Arkansas.
•Senior Chase Stigall needs one three 3-point field goal to reach 100 for his career.
•Junior Khyle Marshall leads the Bulldogs and ranks 13th in the Atlantic 10 Conference in offensive rebounds (2.4).
•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones has scored in double-figures in four of Butler's last five games. He's averaging 13.6 points over that stretch.
•Sophomore Kameron Woods has come off the bench with 29 rebounds in Butler's last three outings.
•Sophomore Jackson Aldridge matched his career-high with two steals in 11 minutes of action against Penn.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham leads the A-10 and ranks third in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.956). He had a streak of 26 consecutive free throws made earlier this season, and he currently has hit his last 11 free throw attempts.
•Kellen Dunham has hit 28 of 29 (.966) free throws during Butler's current eight-game winning streak.
•Kellen Dunham has scored in double-figures in three straight games and in five of Butler's last six contests.
•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 head coach Brad Stevens picked up his 150th career win with the victory over Penn.
•Butler has won its last 15 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.