Butler Begins Home Stretch Against Charlotte
HOME STRETCH: Butler will play three of its next four games in Hinkle Fieldhouse, beginning with a visit from Charlotte on Wednesday (Feb. 13). The contest between the two Atlantic 10 Conference foes will start at 7 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on WNDY-TV. Butler and Charlotte, squaring off for the first time since 1993, are meeting for just the fourth time ever and for just the second time in Indianapolis. The last time the 49ers visited Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler freshmen Kellen Dunham and Devontae Morgan weren't even born! The Bulldogs won that home meeting with the nationally-ranked 49ers, 87-84, in January of 1992. Charlotte started this season as the hottest team in the A-10, winning 16 of its first 19 contests, including its first nine. The 49ers, coming off a 68-61 loss to VCU, currently stand 17-6 overall and 5-4 in conference play. Butler picked up its third straight A-10 win and maintained a share of the conference lead with a 59-56 victory at George Washington on Saturday (Feb. 9). The win boosted the Bulldogs to 20-4 on the season and 7-2 in A-10 action. Following the Charlotte game, Butler will head to New York to face Fordham on Saturday, Feb. 16, before returning to Indianapolis for two straight home games.
The Bulldogs are the first A-10 team to reach 20 victories this season.
POLL WATCH: Butler climbed to No. 10 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 11 in the Associated Press national poll this week. It's the third time the Bulldogs have reached the "Top 10" in at least one of the 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 ninth consecutive week.
HOUSE RULES: The Bulldogs, who are 12-0 in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, have won at least 10 home games in 18 consecutive seasons. Butler is 224-32 at home over that 18-season stretch, including three unbeaten home records. Butler's current seniors are 52-8 in Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs have four of their final seven contests on their homecourt.
Butler is 81-11 in Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.
LAST OUTING: Butler held off a late-charging George Washington squad to post a 59-56 road victory in the nation's capital last weekend. The Bulldogs built a nine-point lead, 31-22, in the first half and stretched that margin to as many as 17 points midway through the second half. But the host Colonials stormed back with a 13-2 run in the final five minutes to cut Butler's lead to 57-56 with under a minute remaining. Freshman Kellen Dunham gave the Bulldogs a three-point edge with a pair of free throws at 0:23, and Butler survived two three-point field goals attempts by the Colonials in the final 14 seconds. George Washington had won four of five games heading into the contest with Butler.
FAMILIAR LEADER: Senior Rotnei Clarke led the Bulldogs in scoring for the fifth 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 14 points at George Washington, while adding six rebounds, a game-high four assists and three steals. Clarke has scored in double-figures 17 times in his 21 games this season, and he's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 15 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 19.0 points since returning from his injury.
ADDED ADVERSITY: Butler will be without senior center Andrew Smith for the game against Charlotte. Smith was injured during Butler's win at George Washington, and he required medical attention when the team returned to Indianapolis following the game. His return has not been determined. Butler played three-and-a-half games in January without leading scorer Rotnei Clarke, who was sidelined with injury, and junior center Erik Fromm missed Butler's game against Rhode Island following the death of his father. Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones sat out most of the second half of Butler's win over St. Bonaventure after sustaining a shoulder injury in the game.
TOP TWENTY: The 2012-13 Bulldogs became the 19th Butler team to record 20 victories in a season with the win at George Washington. Butler has won at least 20 games in eight consecutive seasons and in 15 of the past 17 campaigns.
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 103-34 record, including this season's 20-4 mark. The 103 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 a tie for third place on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 6 Seasons. The Bulldogs' coach, who boasts a 159-44 record, trails Everett Case (North Carolina State, 1947-52) in second place by two wins. 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 capacity crowd at George Washington was the fifth consecutive Atlantic 10 Conference road sellout for the Bulldogs. Overall, Butler has performed in front of eight capacity crowds in the past 10 games and in 12 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 became the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points in the Bulldogs' victory over Rhode Island. He currently stands 32nd on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,024 career points, four points shy of Dave Bennett (1968-71) in the No. 31 spot.
•Andrew Smith ranks seventh in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.543). Smith's career shooting percentage of .545 ranks sixth all-time at Butler.
•Senior Rotnei Clarke ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (16.19).
•Rotnei Clarke stands second in the A-10 and ranks eighth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (3.6). Clarke has had at least four three-pointers in a game 11 times this season.
•Rotnei Clarke ranks fourth in the A-10 and 16th in Division I in three-point field goal percentage (.434).
•Rotnei Clarke currently ranks fifth in the A-10 in free throw shooting (.857).
•Rotnei Clarke matched his career-high with six rebounds at George Washington.
•Rotnei Clarke is six three-point field goals shy of 10th place on Butler's single season list for three-pointers. Pete Campbell (2006-07) and Darin Archbold (1991-92) currently share the No. 10 spot with 81 threes.
•Butler is 13-0 this season when junior Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures.
•Khyle Marshall led the Bulldogs with nine rebounds at George Washington. It was his highest total since Dec. 29, when he grabbed 11 rebounds at Vanderbilt.
•Khyle Marshall ranks fourth in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.560).
•Junior Erik Fromm, playing in just his second game following the death of his father on Feb. 2, had five rebounds, four points and a steal in 10 minutes against George Washington. The five rebounds were the most he's had since Dec. 15, when he grabbed five in Butler's victory over No. 1 Indiana.
•Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones bounced back from a shoulder injury suffered against St. Bonaventure to score 12 points and grab seven rebounds at George Washington. Jones played 33 minutes against the Colonials.
•Roosevelt Jones is shooting .696 (32-46) from the free throw line in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
•Sophomore Kameron Woods came off the bench with five rebounds at George Washington. He's had at least five rebounds in five of Butler's last six games.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham leads the A-10 and ranks fifth in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.914).
•Butler is ranked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 15th in the NCAA Division I in team rebounding margin (+7.8). The Bulldogs have out-rebounded their last eight opponents and 21 foes on the season.
•Butler is 59-6 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.