January 29, 2013

Butler Renews Conference Rivalry At Saint Louis

BIUTLER AT SAINT LOUIS
Thursday, January 31, 9 p.m. (ET)
Chaifetz Arena - St. Louis, Mo.
 Audio

FORMER FOE:  Butler will renew a former conference rivalry when it visits Saint Louis for an Atlantic 10 Conference meeting on Thursday (Jan. 31).  The game at Chaifetz Arena is scheduled for 8 p.m. (CT, 9 p.m. in Indianapolis) and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.  Butler and Saint Louis were conference foes for nine seasons in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, 1982-91, but the two teams have met just twice since the end of the 1990-91 season and not since Dec. 27, 2003.  Ironically, the two Midwestern squads will meet again next month in Indianapolis.  Butler, ranked in the "Top 10" in this week's national polls, improved to 17-3 on the season and 4-1 in the A-10 with an 83-71 victory at home over Temple last weekend.  Saint Louis (14-5, 3-2 A-10), 11-2 at home this season, posted a 67-57 win at St. Bonaventure in its last outing.  That win was the 11th for the Billikens in the past 13 games.  Following the game at Saint Louis, Butler will return to Indianapolis to host Rhode Island on Saturday (Feb. 2).                   

Butler is playing on the road for the fourth time in six A-10 games this season.                
                  
POLL WATCH:  Butler is ranked in the "Top 10" of both the Associated Press national poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll for the second strtaight week.  The Bulldogs are No. 9 this week in the A.P. poll and No. 10 in the coaches poll.  Butler's victory over No. 1 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 A.P. "Top 25" at No. 19 and the Coaches Poll at No. 25.

Butler is ranked in the national "Top 25" for the seventh consecutive week.

STRONG FINISH:  The Bulldogs used a 16-4 run to break a 56-56 tie and take control of their home contest against Temple.  The visiting Owls, playing at Butler for the first time, had erased a 13-point deficit in the second half and eventually tied the game on a three-point play by Rahur Hollis-Jefferson with 8:12 remaining.  But the Bulldogs regained the advantage with the decisive run, sparked by freshman Kellen Dunham.  The 6-6 guard hit back-to-back three-point field goals in a span of 34 seconds and Butler never looked back.  Senior Rotnei Clarke hit six free throws in the final 0:28 to stifle any Temple comeback attempts.  The win came three days after Butler suffered its first A-10 setback on a last-second shot by Ramon Galloway at La Salle.      
 
RETURN PERFORMANCE:  Butler scoring leader Rotnei Clarke, who suffered a game-ending injury in the first half of Butler's win at Dayton on Jan. 12, made the most of his return to action against Temple.  The 6-0 guard, who missed three-and-a-half games with the injury, led all scorers in the Temple game with 24 points.  He also topped all players with a career-high nine assists, while adding three rebounds and one steal in 38 minutes.  The Butler senior connected on a career-high 13 of 14 free throws in the win.  Clarke has scored in double-figures 13 times in his 17 games this season, and he's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 11 of those contests.  The Arkansas transfer has scored 20 or more points seven times this season and 19 times during his collegiate career.

Rotnei Clarke ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (16.7 ppg).

SHARP SHOOTING:  Butler freshman Kellen Dunham came off the bench and hit five of six three-point field goals and scored 17 points to help lift the Bulldogs past Temple.  The five three-pointers tied Dunham's collegiate high, set at the Maui Invitational in Butler's victory over No. 9 North Carolina, while the 17 points were the second-highest total of his young career.  Dunham, who stands second on the team in three-point field goal shooting, has hit 12 of 18 (.667) three-point attempts in Butler last three games.

LEAGUE RECOGNITION:  For the fourth time this season, Butler's Kellen Dunham was named Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week, following Butler's games against La Salle and Temple.  The first-year Butler player averaged 16.0 points and shot 80% (8-10) from the three-point arc in the Bulldogs' two conference contests during the week.  He scored 15 points in Butler's game at La Salle and then came off the bench with 17 points in the Bulldogs' home victory over Temple.  He added eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in the two league games.  Dunham also was named A-10 Rookie of the Week on Nov. 12, Dec. 10 and Dec. 31, and only Xavier's Semaj Christon has earned the conference honor as many times.

EFFICIENT EFFORT:  Junior Khyle Marshall matched his second-highest scoring total of the season with 19 points in just 26 minutes of action against Temple.  The 6-6 forward hit nine of 11 shots in the game, including seven dunks.  He also shared the team lead in rebounds with five and added one of Butler's three blocked shots in the contest.  Marshall's performance ended a three-game stretch in which he had connected on just six of 20 (30%) shots.

Khyle Marshall ranks sixth in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.550).    

SUPPORT GROUP:  Butler will have a few additional friendly faces in the crowd at Saint Louis' Chaifetz Arena.  Cassie Clarke, a member of the Saint Louis volleyball team, is the sister of Butler scoring leader Rotnei Clarke, while sophomore Roosevelt Jones hails from O'Fallon, Ill., just across the river from Saint Louis.  And Nolan Berry, a standout player at De Smet Jesuit H.S., is a 2013-14 Butler recruit.    

TOP FIVE:  Seniors Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall and Emerson Kampen became the fifth Butler class to record 100 victories with the win over Temple.  Over the past three-and-a-half seasons, the trio has helped Butler to a 100-33 record, including this season's 17-3 mark.  The 100 wins ties Butler's 2002-03 senior class of Darnell Archey, Joel Cornette, Lewis Curry and Mike Moore for fourth place on the Bulldogs' all-time wins' list.  The Butler senior class record for victories is 118, set by the 2009-10 class of Willie Veasley and Nick Rodgers.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Senior Andrew Smith has started 87 of Butler's last 89 games, including both NCAA Final Four games in 2011.

•Andrew Smith ranks fourth in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.575).

•Andrew Smith stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal percentage (.553).

•Andrew Smith needs 15 points to become the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points.

•Senior Rotnei Clarke ranks second in the A-10 and eighth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (3.6).  Clarke has had at least four three-pointers in a game 10 times this season.

•Rotnei Clarke ranks seventh in the Atlantic 10 Conference in three-point field goal percentage (.434).

•Rotnei Clarke currently ranks sixth in the A-10 in free throw shooting (.864).

•Rotnei Clarke is 10 points shy of 1,600 for his collegiate career.

•Butler is 11-0 this season when junior Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures.

•Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones has had at least a share of the team lead in assists in eight of Butler's last 11 games.  He's averaged 3.9 assists over that stretch, including a career-high seven assists against #1 Indiana.

•Roosevelt Jones is averaging 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in Butler's last eight games.

•Roosevelt Jones has hit 38 of 60 (.633) free throws in Butler's last 11 games.  He shot 40% from the free throw line through Butler first nine games.

•Sophomore point-guard Alex Barlow has had at least one steal in 15 of Butler's last 16 games.  He leads the Bulldogs in steals on the season.

•Freshman Kellen Dunham leads the Bulldogs with 13 games of 10 or more points.

•Kellen Dunham matched his collegiate highs with six field goals and five three-point field goals against Temple.

•Kellen Dunham leads the A-10 and ranks fourth in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.921).

•The Bulldogs had their fourth-best (third-best against a Division I foe) shooting night of the year with a 26 of 50 (52%) effort against Temple.  Butler entered this week as the A-10 leader in field goal percentage (.466).

•Butler is ranked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 16th in the NCAA Division I in team rebounding margin (+7.9).

•Butler has six "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, #8 Gonzaga 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.