January 15, 2013

Bulldogs Face First A-10 Home Game

BUTLER VS. RICHMOND
Wednesday, January 16, 7 p.m. (ET)
Hinkle Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, Ind.
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HOME OPENER:  Butler will host an Atlantic 10 Conference men's basketball game for the first time when Richmond visits Indianapolis on Wednesday (Jan. 16).  The game at Hinkle Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on WNDY-TV.  Butler made its A-10 debut last week with back-to-back road contests, including a visit to conference preseason favorite Saint Joseph's for the league opener.  The Bulldogs passed their first conference test with a 72-66 victory over the Hawks and then, three days later, improved to 2-0 in the league with a 79-73 win at Dayton.  The two victories lifted Butler to 14-2 on the season and placed the Bulldogs in a four-way tie for first place in the A-10 standings.  Richmond (11-6) opened its conference slate at home with a 64-61 victory over Rhode Island, before falling at La Salle, 71-59, on Saturday (Jan. 12).  The Spiders feature senior Darien Brothers, who leads the A-10 and ranks third in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goal shooting (51.1%).  Following the Richmond contest, Butler will step out of conference play to host No. 8 Gonzaga in a nationally-televised game on Saturday, Jan. 19.     

Butler is off to its best start since 2008-09, when the Bulldogs won 19 of their first 20 games.                
                  
POLL CLIMBING:  Butler is ranked in the "Top 25" of both the Associated Press national poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll for the fifth consecutive week.  The Bulldogs are No. 13 in both this week's A.P. poll and 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 since November of 2010.  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.

SUCCESS STREAK:  The Bulldogs, who were unbeaten in December, enter the Richmond game with an 11-game winning streak.  That stretch includes six home decisions, four road victories and a neutral court win over top-ranked Indiana.  It's the fourth time since Brad Stevens took over as Butler's head coach that the Bulldogs have had a winning streak of 11 or more games.

The Bulldogs have tied the sixth-longest winning streak in school history.

ROAD SWEEP:  Butler made its Atlantic 10 Conference debut with back-to-back road wins. The Bulldogs pulled out a come-from-behind 72-66 victory at preseason conference favorite Saint Joseph's to begin the two-game conference road trip and then completed the sweep with a 79-73 win at Dayton.  Butler trailed, 40-35, at halftime and 56-52 with 9:17 remaining, at Saint Joseph's, before grabbing the lead with a 9-0 run, sparked by five points from senior guard Rotnei Clarke.  Saint Joseph's closed to within two points on four occasions in the final six minutes, but the Bulldogs held off each challenge and finished the game with four consecutive free throws for their biggest lead of the night.  Three days later at Dayton, Coach Brad Stevens' squad jumped to a 35-27 halftime lead and then stretched that margin to as many as 14 points in the final 20 minutes, despite losing Clarke to a first-half injury.  The Bulldogs, who held the lead for the final 28:34 of the game, scored their final 11 points from the free throw line.   

FRIGHTFUL FALL:  Butler scoring leader Rotnei Clarke suffered a game-ending injury in the first half at Dayton, when he crashed into the basket standard after being fouled while attempting a lay-up.  He was taken from the court on a stretcher and later, was diagnosed with a severely sprained neck.  His status is being evaluated day-to-day, but he will not play this week.  The 6-0 guard has scored in double-figures 12 times in Butler's 16 games this season, and he's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 10 of the Bulldogs' first 16 contests.  The Arkansas transfer, who scored a Butler career-high 28 points while leading the Bulldogs past Saint Joseph's in the A-10 opener for both teams,  has scored 20 or more points six times this season and 18 times during his collegiate career.  

Rotnei Clarke ranks third in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (16.3 ppg).

LEAGUE RECOGNITION:  Senior Andrew Smith, who averaged 18.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in Butler's two A-10 road wins, was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week.  Smith recorded his second double-double of the season and the sixth of his Butler career with 24 points and 10 rebounds at Saint Joseph's.  He tallied 14 points and pulled down six rebounds in the final 20 minutes to help Butler secure the victory.  The 6-11 center then posted 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot in Butler's win at Dayton.  He hit a key three-point field goal and a pair of free throws in the final 6:20 to help the Bulldogs stave off a Dayton comeback attempt.  The 24 points and 10 rebounds at Saint Joseph's matched his season-highs, both set in a victory at Northwestern in December, while the four assists at Dayton tied his career-high.  Smith is the third Butler player to earn A-10 Player of the Week honors, joining teammates Rotnei Clarke (Nov. 19) and Roosevelt Jones (Dec. 17).

TRIPLE CROWN:  Sophomore Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs in scoring (16) and rebounding (7), and he shared the team lead in assists (4) at Dayton.  The 6-4 forward hit four of eight shots from the floor and a career-best eight of 12 from the free throw line to compile his game-high scoring total.  It was the second time in four games that he topped Butler in scoring and the fifth time this season that he led the Bulldogs in rebounding.  He's had at least a share of the team lead in assists in five straight games.  

HOT 'DOGS:  Butler turned in its best shooting performance against a Division I team this season at Dayton.  The Bulldogs, who boast two of the top six field goal shooters in the Atlantic 10 Conference, connected on 25 of 43 (.581) shots, including seven of 13 (.538) from beyond the three-point arc, in the win.  Junior Khyle Marshall, who hit four of six shots at Dayton, leads the Bulldogs and ranks fourth in the A-10 with a .567 field goal percentage, while senior Andrew Smith stands second on the team and sixth in the conference at .559.  As a team, Butler ranks second in the conference with a .465 team shooting percentage.

HOME COURT:  The Bulldogs, who are 7-0 in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, have won at least 10 home games in each of the past 17 years.  Butler was 13-6 in the Fieldhouse a year ago, and the Bulldogs are 172-25 at home since the start of the 1999-2000 season.  Butler's current seniors are 47-8 in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Butler is 76-11 in Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Senior Andrew Smith has started 83 of Butler's last 85 games, including both NCAA Final Four games in 2011.

•Andrew Smith is shooting 61.8% during Butler's current winning streak.

•Andrew Smith stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal percentage (.549).

•Andrew Smith has averaged 14.1 points and 5.8 rebounds during Butler's current winning streak.

•Butler is 10-0 this season when Andrew Smith scores in double-figures.

•Andrew Smith needs 60 points to become the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points.

•Andrew Smith recorded his 500th career rebound in Butler's victory over New Orleans.  He enters game at Richmond with 516 career rebounds.

•Senior Rotnei Clarke ranks second in the A-10 and seventh in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (3.7).  Clarke has had at least four three-pointers in 10 of Butler's first 16 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 28 collegiate games, dating back to his final season at Arkansas.

•Rotnei Clarke ranks sixth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in three-point field goal percentage (.444).

•Rotnei Clarke has scored in double-figures in 11 of Butler's last 14 games.

•Senior Chase Stigall notched his 100th career three-point field goal in Butler's win at Dayton.

•Junior Khyle Marshall is averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds over Butler's current winning streak.  He had 12 points in the Bulldogs' win at Dayton.

•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones has led the Bulldogs in assists in six of the team's past seven games.

•Roosevelt Jones is averaging 11.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in Butler's last 11 games.

•Roosevelt Jones has hit 25 of 39 (.641) free throws in Butler's last seven games.  He shot 40% through Butler first nine games.

•Sophomore Alex Barlow, returning to his home area at Dayton, had six points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot against the Flyers.

•Alex Barlow has had at least one steal in each of Butler's last 11 games.

•Sophomore Kameron Woods posted four points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots in 18 minutes at Dayton.

•Freshman Kellen Dunham is averaging 10.4 points over Butler's last 11 games.
 
•Kellen Dunham leads the A-10 and ranks third in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.944).

•Butler continues to lead the Atlantic 10 Conference in team rebounding margin (+6.9).

•Butler has won its last 16 games when holding its opponent under 60 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 is 58-6 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.