Bulldogs Start Homestand Against Duquesne
STRETCH RUN: Butler begins its final two-game homestand when it hosts Duquesne for the first time in more than two decades on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The Atlantic 10 Conference game at Hinkle Fieldhouse is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (ET) tip-off and will be televised on WNDY-TV. The Bulldogs remained in the thick of the A-10 conference race with a 68-63 victory at Fordham on Saturday (Feb. 16). The road win, which came just three days after the Bulldogs suffered their first home setback to Charlotte, lifted Butler to 21-5 on the season and 8-3 in the A-10 standings. VCU currently sits atop the A-10 race with a 9-2 record, one-half game ahead of Saint Louis (8-2). Butler is tied with La Salle for third place, one game back. Duquesne (8-17, 1-10 A-10) dropped its last outing to Rhode Island, 67-62, last weekend. Butler and Duquesne haven't met on the basketball court since 1993, when both were members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. The two teams faced each other for the first time during the 1992-93 season and split a pair of meetings. Butler will close out the week at home with its second game this season against Saint Louis. The Billikens won the earlier meeting on their homecourt, 75-58.
Butler has 21 wins for the 17th time in school history.
POLL WATCH: Butler is ranked No. 15 in both the Associated Press national poll and the USA Today Coaches' Poll this week. It's the sixth straight week that the Bulldogs have been ranked in the "Top 15" of both national polls. Butler's victory over No. 1 Indiana on Dec. 15 vaulted the Bulldogs into the "Top 25" of both 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 tenth consecutive week.
HOME VALUE: The Bulldogs, who are 12-1 in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, have won at least 10 home games in 18 consecutive seasons. Butler is 224-33 at home over that 18-season stretch, including three unbeaten home records. Butler's current seniors are 52-9 in Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs have three of their final five contests on their homecourt.
Butler is 81-12 in Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.
LAST OUTING: Butler used a 16-2 run midway through the second half to grab the lead for good and then held off a late charge by host Fordham to post a 68-63 conference road win. Five different Butler players contributed to the decisive run, with sophomore Roosevelt Jones leading the way with six points. Fordham did close to within two points, 65-63, in the final minute, but the Bulldogs hit three of four free throw attempts in the final 0:18 to secure the win. It was Butler's sixth road win this season.
POINT PERSON: Senior Rotnei Clarke continued his strong surge since returning from a severe neck injury, which sidelined him for three-and-a-half games in January. The 6-0 guard led the Bulldogs in scoring for the seventh straight contest, finishing at Fordham with a game-high 22 points. Clarke hit four three-point field goals in the win, and he was perfect on six attempts at the free throw line. His final two free throws with five seconds remaining clinched the Butler victory. He has scored in double-figures 19 times in his 23 games this season, and he's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 17 of those contests. The Arkansas transfer has scored 20 or more points nine times this season and 21 times during his collegiate career.
Rotnei Clarke has averaged 19.3 points since returning from his neck injury.
EARLY RETURN: Senior Andrew Smith, who was injured and missed Butler's home game against Charlotte, was cleared to practice late last week, and he returned to the Bulldogs' lineup at Fordham. The 6-11 center made his presence felt with 12 points, two rebounds and one assist in 30 minutes of action. Smith's injury was the latest in a series of setbacks for the Bulldogs. 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.
HEALTHY RETURN: Sophomore Roosevelt Jones hit five of nine shots from the field and scored 13 points to help the Bulldogs slip past Fordham. It was his third straight double-figures' scoring performance, since returning from a shoulder injury suffered against St. Bonaventure on Feb. 6. Jones, who matched his career-high with 38 minutes on the floor at Fordham, also pulled down eight rebounds and had three assists in the Butler win. In the three games since his injury, Jones has averaged 14.0 points and 8.0 rebounds.
QUICK START: Butler head coach Brad Stevens has moved into third place on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 6 Seasons. The Bulldogs' coach, who boasts a 160-45 record, trails Everett Case (North Carolina State, 1947-52) in second 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 ATTRACTION: Butler faced its sixth consecutive Atlantic 10 Conference road sellout when it took the court at Fordham. The Bulldogs have played in front of nine capacity crowds in the past 11 games and in front of 13 sellout crowds 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.
CHART CLIMBING: The Bulldogs need one victory to match last year's season total and move into a tie for 12th place on Butler's single season wins chart.
•Seniors Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall and Emerson Kampen stand fourth on Butler's list for Most Senior Class Wins with a four-year record of 104-35.
•Andrew Smith became the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points in the Bulldogs' victory over Rhode Island. He currently stands 31st on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,036 career points.
•Andrew Smith ranks eighth in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.538). Smith's career shooting percentage of .544 ranks sixth all-time at Butler.
•Andrew Smith is shooting 60.3% (41-68) in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.
•Senior Rotnei Clarke ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (17.2). He's second in the league's conference games only scoring (18.3).
•Rotnei Clarke leads the A-10 and ranks 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 a game 13 times this season.
•Rotnei Clarke ranks fifth in the A-10 and 24th in Division I in three-point field goal percentage (.429).
•Rotnei Clarke currently ranks third in the A-10 in free throw shooting (.877). Clarke has made his last 13 free throw attempts.
•Rotnei Clarke is shooting .919 from the free throw line against conference opponents and ranks third in the league in A-10 games only.
•Rotnei Clarke is tied with Bruce Horan (2004-05) for ninth place on Butler's single season list for three-point field goals with 84. Shelvin Mack (2010-11) is in eighth place with 87 three-pointers.
•Butler is 13-0 this season when junior Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures.
•Khyle Marshall ranks fourth in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.545).
•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones scored 279 points in 36 games as a freshman. He's currently scored 279 points in 26 games this season.
•Sophomore Kameron Woods came off the bench with 10 rebounds and seven points in 18 minutes of action at Fordham.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham ranks fourth in the A-10 free throw shooting (.877).
•Kellen Dunham is shooting 93% (40-43) from the free throw line in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
•Butler is ranked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 14th in the NCAA Division I in team rebounding margin (+7.3). The Bulldogs have out-rebounded nine of their last 10 opponents and 22 foes on the season.
•Butler is 59-7 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.
•Butler is 7-1 against A-10 foes when playing at full strength. Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke missed Butler's game at La Salle, while second-leading scorer Andrew Smith missed the Charlotte game.
•The Bulldogs have beaten two of the top three teams in this week's Associated Press national poll (#1 Indiana and #3 Gonzaga).