Bulldogs Make First Visit To George Washington
CAPITAL TRAVEL: Butler will play its first regular season men's basketball game in the nation's capital when it visits George Washington for an Atlantic 10 Conference contest on Saturday, Feb. 9. The game at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C., will start at 2 p.m. (ET) and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 14 in this week's national basketball polls, improved to 19-4 on the season and 6-2 in the A-10 with a 77-58 victory at home over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday (Feb. 6). The victory was Butler's second straight and 16th in the past 18 games. George Washington (11-10, 5-3 A10) won for the fourth time in the past five outings with a 79-57 victory at Duquesne on Wednesday. It was the third straight A-10 road win for the Colonials, who have split their last four home games. The youthful Colonials, who have started four freshmen in every A-10 contest this season, currently rank second in the conference in rebounding margin (+5.7), blocked shots (5.3) and field goal percentage defense (.404). Leading the Washington, D.C., squad is 6-9 senior Isaiah Armwood, who ranks second in the A-10 in rebounding (8.5) and blocked shots (2.8). Following the game at George Washington, Butler will return home to host Charlotte on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The Smith Center is the fifth "first-time" arena for Butler in the last six road games.
POLLING PLACE: Butler continues to be nationally-ranked in both the Associated Press national poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 14 this week in both national polls. 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 eighth consecutive week.
CONFERENCE HALFTIME: Butler completed the first half of its first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference in a three-way tie for first place with VCU and Saint Louis. All three squads boast a 6-2 conference record and stand one game ahead of Charlotte, Massachusetts, La Salle, Xavier and George Washington, all sporting 5-3 marks. With half of the conference season completed, 11 teams are .500 or better in league play.
LAST OUTING: Butler unleashed a long-range attack and handed visiting St. Bonaventure a 19-point setback in the first-ever meeting between the two teams on Wednesday. The Bulldogs posted their highest conference single game total and matched their second-highest overall total of the season with 11 three-point field goals against the Bonnies. Senior Chase Stigall hit the first of his three three-pointers to give Butler a 14-13 lead less than nine minutes into the contest, and the Bulldogs held the upper hand for the final 31:36. Butler led by double-figures for the final 17 minutes, stretching the margin to as many as 24 points late in the game. Six different players contributed to the long-range assault, with Stigall and senior Rotnei Clarke knocking down three three-point field goals each.
LEADING ROLE: Senior Rotnei Clarke led the Bulldogs in scoring for the fourth consecutive game, since returning from a neck injury that sidelined him for three-and-a-half contests. The 6-0 guard scored a team-high 17 points against St. Bonaventure, while adding five rebounds and a game-high five assists. Clarke has scored in double-figures 16 times in his 20 games this season, and he's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 14 of those contests. The Arkansas transfer has scored 20 or more points eight times this season and 20 times during his collegiate career.
Rotnei Clarke has averaged 20.3 points since returning from his injury.
SENIOR MOMENT: Senior Chase Stigall came off the bench and sparked the Bulldogs with 12 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 21 minutes against St. Bonaventure. The 12 points were a season-high and matched the third-highest single game total of his Butler career. Stigall scored nine points in the first half, while helping Butler to a 39-30 halftime lead.
AWARD FINALIST: Senior Andrew Smith was named one of 10 finalists for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award, presented for notable achievement in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Smith, a starter in 90 of Butler's last 92 games, has been a top performer in the class room, on the court and in the community during his four seasons with the Bulldogs. He was the Bulldogs' leading scorer a year ago, and he currently stands second on the squad in both scoring and rebounding. An honor student majoring in finance, he recently was named to the Capital One Academic All-District V Team. Smith is the third Butler player in three years to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, following Matt Howard (2010-11) and Ronald Nored (2011-12). The winner of the Senior CLASS Award will be announced at the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta, Ga.
CLASS MOVE: Seniors Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall and Emerson Kampen became the fifth Butler class to record 100 victories with the Bulldogs' win over Temple. Over the past three-and-a-half seasons, the trio has helped Butler to a 102-34 record, including this season's 19-4 mark. The 102 wins places this year's senior class in fourth place on the Bulldogs' all-time list. The Butler senior class record for victories is 118, set by the 2009-10 class of Willie Veasley and Nick Rodgers.
QUICK START: Butler head coach Brad Stevens has moved into sixth place on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 6 Seasons. The Bulldogs' coach, who boasts a 158-44 record, trails Mark Few (Gonzaga, 2000-05), Dave Rose (BYU, 2006-11) and Roy Williams (Kansas, 1989-94) in third place by one win. Stevens holds the NCAA three-year (89), four-year (117) and five-year (139) records, and he's second on the two-year (56) list.
POPULAR DRAW: The Bulldogs played in front of their fifth consecutive sellout crowd overall and their third straight at home when they hosted Rhode Island on Feb. 2. Butler has performed in front of seven capacity crowds in the past nine games and in 11 total games this season. Butler's future home games against Saint Louis and Xavier are already sold out, which sets a Butler record for most home sellouts (5) in a single season.
•Senior Andrew Smith scored 13 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds against St. Bonaventure. He's had at least a share of Butler's rebounding lead in four of the past six games.
•Andrew Smith became the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points in the Bulldogs' victory over Rhode Island. He's currently tied for 33rd on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,018 career points, five points shy of J. P. Brens (1989-93) in the No. 32 position and 10 points behind Dave Bennett (1968-71) in the No. 31 spot.
•Andrew Smith stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal percentage (.549).
•Andrew Smith was named to the five-player 2012-13 Capital One Academic All-District V Team. Butler has had a player on the Academic All-District V team for seven straight seasons.
•Senior Rotnei Clarke ranks third in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (17.1).
•Rotnei Clarke stands second in the A-10 and ranks eighth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (3.7). Clarke has had at least four three-pointers in a game 11 times this season.
•Rotnei Clarke ranks third in the Atlantic 10 Conference in three-point field goal percentage (.440).
•Rotnei Clarke currently ranks sixth in the A-10 in free throw shooting (.852).
•Butler is 13-0 this season when junior Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures.
•Khyle Marshall, who hit all five of his field goal attempts and scored 12 points against St. Bonaventure, has taken the top spot in field goal shooting (.567) in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
•Junior Erik Fromm, who missed Butler's game with Rhode Island, following the death of his father on Feb. 2, returned to action with three points in eight minutes against St. Bonaventure. The Butler team joined Erik at a memorial service for his father in Bloomington, Ind., on Thursday (Feb. 7).
•Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones, who leads the Bulldogs in assists and shares the team lead in rebounding, missed all but two minutes of the second half against St. Bonaventure after suffering a shoulder injury. Jones is questionable for Butler's game at George Washington.
•Roosevelt Jones has hit 47 of 73 (.644) free throws in Butler's last 14 games. He shot 40% from the free throw line through Butler first nine games.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham leads the A-10 and ranks fourth in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.922).
•Butler is ranked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 14th in the NCAA Division I in team rebounding margin (+7.9). The Bulldogs out-rebounded St. Bonaventure, 34-25.
•Butler is 59-6 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.
•The Bulldogs need one win to become the 19th Butler team to record 20 victories in a season.