Bulldogs Open The Season At Home Against Lamar

Head coach Brandon Miller (Photo by Brent Smith)

SEASON TIP-OFF:  Butler will begin a new year under a new head coach and in a new conference when it hosts Lamar on Saturday, Nov. 9.  The season-opener for both teams will tip at 8 p.m. (ET) at Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 2.  The Bulldogs under first-year head coach Brandon Miller will face the first of 30 regular season games when then take the court against Lamar.  Included in that schedule are 18 games against foes in the new BIG EAST Conference.  Butler, Xavier and Creighton joined seven members of the former Big East Conference to create the ten-team league this past summer.  The BIG EAST will play a full round-robin schedule, ending with the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden in March.  Miller, named Butler's head coach in July, guided the Bulldogs to a pair of exhibition game wins last week.  The Bulldogs defeated Nova Southeastern, 101-64, in their first preseason test and then came back with a 93-68 victory over DePauw in the second outing.  Lamar, under third-year head coach Pat Knight, had just one preseason exhibition game, defeating McMurry, 66-62.  Saturday's game against Lamar will be the first of 28 nationally-televised games for the Bulldogs.

Butler has won 14 consecutive home-openers.          

HOME RULE:  Butler has won at least 10 games in Hinkle Fieldhouse in each of the past 18 seasons.  The Bulldogs were 14-2 at home last season, with both setbacks coming in a nine-day period in February.

Butler is 226-34 in Hinkle Fieldhouse over the past 18 seasons.
    
FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS:  New Butler head coach Brandon Miller is certainly not new to Butler or Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Miller, who played on Butler's home court as a prep star at New Castle Chrysler High School, played his first collegiate game at Hinkle Fieldhouse as a member of the Southwest Missouri State team in 1998.  A year later, he transferred to Butler, where he became one of just eight Bulldogs to score 1,000 points in three seasons.  Four years after graduating from Butler, Miller returned to his alma mater to begin his career as an assistant basketball coach, and his second game as a coach was in Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Now, he'll begin his career as a head coach on the same floor that holds so many memories from his basketball past.

EXHIBITION RECAP:  Butler put together a pair of high-octane offensive performances in its final preparation for the 2013-14 campaign.  The Bulldogs rolled to a 101-64 victory over Nova Southeastern, a Division II school from Florida, in the first preseason exhibition game and then finished the exhibition season with a 93-68 win over Division III foe DePauw.  It was the highest scoring output in back-to-back games by a Butler team in more than two decades!  The Bulldogs jumped to a 55-27 halftime lead against Nova Southeastern and stretched that margin to as many as 48 points in the second half.  Head coach Brandon Miller used 15 players in the game, and 14 cracked the scoring column.  Butler didn't start as quickly against DePauw, but still managed a 42-33 halftime advantage.  The Bulldogs pulled away with 51 points after intermission.  

ON TARGET:  The Bulldogs shot a sizzling 57.0% from the field, including 52.8% from beyond the three-point arc, in their two exhibition wins.  Butler connected on 33 of 54 (61.1%) shots in the victory over Nova Southeastern and then knocked down 28 of 53 (52.8%) shots against DePauw.  The Bulldogs hit 12 of their 21 (57.1%) three-point attempts in the first victory and then nailed seven of 15 (46.7%) long-range shots in the second win.  Eight Butler players shot 60% or better for the two games.

EARLY LEADER:  With the top three scorers from last year's 27-9 Butler team gone, there was some question as to who would fill the lead role on this year's team.  Sophomore Kellen Dunham wasted little time in throwing his hat into the race.  The 6-6 guard led the Bulldogs with 16 points in the victory over Nova Southeastern, and then he came back with a team-high 23 points against DePauw.  Dunham hit 12 of 20 shots (60%) from the floor, including six of 10 (60%) from three-point range in the two games.

Kellen Dunham scored in double-figures in 18 games as a freshman last year.

VETERAN PERFORMANCE:  Butler only has two seniors on this year's squad and both were prominent in the team's two exhibition games.  Khyle Marshall shot a team-best 69.2% and averaged 10.5 points in the two outings, while Erik Fromm averaged 9.5 points and led the squad with 40 minutes played.  Marshall has played in 109 games over the past three seasons, while Fromm has seen action in 97 contests.

RELATIVELY SPEAKING:  Butler freshman Elijah Brown and Lamar freshman Preston Mattingly share more than the fact that each is facing his first collegiate game on Saturday.  Both have fathers in professional sports.  Brown's father is Mike Brown, head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Mattingly's father is Don Mattingly, former New York Yankees' first baseman and current manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

ROSTER CHANGE:  Junior Andrew Smeathers announced this week that he was leaving the Bulldogs and will seek a transfer to another school.  Smeathers played in 43 games in two seasons at Butler, and he saw brief action in the Bulldogs' two exhibition games last week.  He came off the bench with five points in six minutes in Butler's victory over Nova Southeastern, and then he had three points in three minutes in the Bulldogs' win over DePauw.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Brandon Miller is the fourth consecutive Butler assistant coach to assume the top position with the Bulldogs.

•Brandon Miller had a 77-20 (79.4%) record in three seasons as a player at Butler.

•Over 14 seasons at five different universities as a player, staff member or coach, Brandon Miller has been with 12 teams that reached the NCAA Tournament.  All 14 of his teams won at least 20 games for a combined career record of 344-103.

•Khyle Marshall stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal shooting (.547).

•Khyle Marshall led the Bulldogs and finished fourth in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.566) last season.

•Khyle Marshall averaged 10.4 points in Hinkle Fieldhouse last season.  

•Butler was 16-1 in 2012-13 when Khyle Marshall scored in double-figures.

•Khyle Marshall and Erik Fromm are the last remaining players from Butler's Final Four team of 2011.

•Erik Fromm was one of three Butler players to score in double-figures against DePauw.  The 6-8 Butler center finished with 11 points and six rebounds in the win..

•Erik Fromm hit a team-high 12 of 15 (.750) free throws in Butler's two exhibition games.

•Erik Fromm tied for second on the team with nine rebounds in Butler's two exhibition contests.

Kameron Woods has led the Bulldogs in rebounding in each of the team's six preseason games this year (four in Australia, two exhibitions)  He shared the team rebounding lead against DePauw with six.

•Kameron Woods had two blocked shots against DePauw and a team-high three blocks in the two exhibition games.  Woods led the Bulldogs in blocked shots last year.

Alex Barlow had a game-high three steals against DePauw.  Barlow led the Bulldogs in steals (42) last season.

•Kellen Dunham has led the Bulldogs in scoring in five of the team's six preseason games (four in Australia; two exhibitions), and he's scored in double-figures in all six.

•Kellen Dunham hit a team-high six three-point field goals in Butler's two exhibition games.

•Kellen Dunham tied Butler's freshman record for three-point field goals with 57 in 2012-13.  Current NBA player Shelvin Mack also hit 57 three-pointers in his freshman season (2008-09) with the Bulldogs.

•Kellen Dunham is averaging 17.2 points in six games under head coach Brandon Miller (16.0 in four games in Australia, 19.5 in two exhibition games).

•Kellen Dunham, who hit nine of 10 free throw attempts in Butler's two exhibition games, ranked 28th in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.867) in 2012-13.

•Kellen Dunham averaged 11.9 points in Hinkle Fieldhouse last season.

Jackson Aldridge won't be the only player representing Australia in Butler's season-opener.  The Sydney, Australia, native will be joined by Lamar's Matt Hancock (Melbourne, Australia).

Devontae Morgan came off the bench with six points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and three steals in Butler's two exhibition games.  He shared the team lead in steals for the two contests.

•Elijah Brown came off the bench with 18 points in 22 minutes against DePauw.  The Butler freshman finished second on the team in scoring (14.5) in the two exhibition games.

•Elijah Brown led the Bulldogs with six assists in the team's two exhibition contests.

Nolan Berry hit six of nine shots, including both of his three-point attempts, in Butler's two exhibition contests.  The 6-10 center averaged 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Andrew Chrabascz had nine rebounds in 26 minutes in Butler's two exhibition games to tie for second on the team.