November 21, 2013

Butler Faces First Road Test At Ball State

BUTLER (3-0) vs. BALL STATE (2-1)
Saturday, November 23, 2 p.m. (ET)
Worthen Arena, Muncie, Indiana
Radio:  WFNI (1070 AM)
Complete Game Notes

TRAVELING CALL:  Butler, coming off a successful three-game homestand, will play its first 2013-14 road contest when it visits nearby rival Ball State on Saturday, Nov. 23.  The two central Indiana teams will meet at Ball State's Worthen Arena at 2 p.m. (ET).  Butler completed a three-game sweep of its homestand with a thrilling, 85-77, overtime victory against Vanderbilt on Tuesday (Nov. 19).  The Bulldogs overcame an early deficit, built as much as a 14-point lead in the second half and then had to rally in overtime to secure the win.  The victory lifted Butler to 3-0 for the first time since 2009-10, when the Bulldogs ultimately wound up in the NCAA Division I National Championship game.  Ball State has won back-to-back home games, after dropping its season-opener at Indiana State.  The Cardinals defeated Southeast Missouri State, 87-83, on Monday (Nov. 18) in their most recent outing.  Following the Ball State game, the Bulldogs will pack their bags for a Thanksgiving Week trip to Orlando, Fla., where they'll participate in the eight-team Old Spice Classic.  Butler will face Washington State at 2 p.m. (ET) on Thanksgiving Day in the opening round of the tournament.

Ball State is the only team Butler has played in every season since 1950-51.          

SUCCESSION LINE:  Brandon Miller is the fourth straight former Butler assistant coach to win his first three games as the Bulldogs' head coach.  Thad Matta did it in 2000-01, Todd Lickliter turned the trick in 2001-02 and Brad Stevens started 3-0 in 2007-08.  Miller coached under Stevens in 2007-08.
    
EXTRA MINUTES:  Butler saw a 14-point lead evaporate in the final eight minutes of regulation play against Vanderbilt, before regaining control in the first overtime period.  Vanderbilt, behind starting guard Eric McClellan and reserve forward Damian Jones, closed the game on a 23-9 scoring run to tie the game at 70-70 and send it into an extra five-minute period.  McClellan scored 13 points down the stretch, including a free throw which tied the game with 11 seconds remaining, while Jones added eight points in the final eight minutes.  Jones also gave the visitors a 71-70 lead 18 seconds into the overtime period, but the Bulldogs answered with back-to-back baskets by senior forward Khyle Marshall to go in front for good.  The victory over Vanderbilt was Butler's first overtime game since Dec. 15, 2012, when the Bulldogs defeated #1 Indiana, 88-86, at the Crossroads Classic.

CLOSING TIME:  Senior Khyle Marshall was asked after the Vanderbilt game if it was his best performance as a Butler player.  He couldn't give a definitive answer, but there was no question that the game featured the best "seven-minute" stretch of his career.  With less than two minutes remaining in regulation and Butler hanging on to a one-point lead, Marshall put on one of the most remarkable performances by a Butler player in recent memory.  He scored Butler's final seven points in regulation play and then tallied the Bulldogs' first four points in overtime, a total of 11 points in just over three minutes.  He added five more points in the overtime session.  Marshall scored 16 of Butler's final 22 points in the win, all in the final seven minutes.  He finished with a career-high 26 points, hitting 11 of 15 shots from the floor including all four of his attempts in the overtime period.

Butler is 32-9 all-time when Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures.   

SCORING STREAK:  Sophomore Kellen Dunham notched double-figures in scoring for the third straight game with 16 points against Vanderbilt.  It's the third time in his young career that he's posted twin-digits in three straight games.  He had four straight games in double-figures on two occasions last year.  Dunham didn't knock down his first field goal until just under four minutes remained in the first half, but he led all scorers at halftime with ten points.  He added six more points in the second half to finish with the sixth-highest point total of his career.  The 6-6 guard is currently tied for seventh in the BIG EAST in scoring (18.3), and he's tied for third in the conference in three-point field goals with eight.

NON-BASKET:  One of the season's more unusual plays occurred late in the first half of the Vanderbilt game, when junior Kameron Woods drove the length of the floor and went up for a one-handed dunk.  The ball cleared the cylinder and nestled into the bottom of the net, before being flung back out of the basket by the reflex of the rim.  The odd miss didn't impact the overall performance of the 6-9 Butler forward.  Woods finished the game with 10 points, a game-high nine rebounds, a game- and career-high four assists, a game- and career-high four blocked shots and one steal in a career-high 41 minutes.

OFFENSIVE LOOK:  Butler topped 80 points for the second time in three games under head coach Brandon Miller and for the fourth time in five outings, counting the two exhibition games.  A year ago, the Bulldogs hit the 80-point mark five times in 36 games.  Butler currently stands third in the BIG EAST in scoring at 81.3 points per game.  Only nationally-ranked Creighton (95.3) and Georgetown (81.5) are scoring at a higher clip.

BOARDING PLACE:  Butler continues to lead the BIG EAST in Defensive Rebound Pct. (.806).  The Bulldogs' first three opponents have grabbed just 18 offensive rebounds.  Butler has out-scored its first three foes, 46-10, on second chance points.

FUTURE 'DOGS:  It doesn't go in the record book, but Butler head coach Brandon Miller still scored a pair of victories on the first day of the NCAA fall signing period.  The Bulldogs' head coach landed a pair of prized prospects in 6-6 Kelan Martin of Louisville (Ky.) Ballard High School and 6-7 Tyler Wideman of Lake Central (Ind.) High School.  Martin averaged 19.1 points and 10.2 rebounds as a junior, while helping Ballard to a state runner-up finish.  Wideman averaged 15.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots, while shooting 64% from the field.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Khyle Marshall scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds in Butler's last visit to Worthen Arena.  His performance came in a 26-minute stint off the bench.

•Khyle Marshall is shooting 68.9% (31-45) from the field in his first five games this season (2 exhibition, 3 regular season).

•Khyle Marshall stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal shooting (.554).

•Kyle Marshall stands second in the BIG EAST Conference in field goal shooting (.688).  He's seventh in the league in rebounding (7.3) and 11th in scoring (16.3).

•Khyle Marshall needs 41 points to become the 35th Butler player to score 1,000 career points.  Former teammate Andrew Smith reached the 1,000-point plateau last year.

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

•Erik Fromm played in his 100th collegiate game on Tuesday against Vanderbilt.

•Erik Fromm played a career-high 26 minutes in Butler's victory over Vanderbilt.

•Erik Fromm had four points and five rebounds off the bench against Ball State last year.  His top game against the Cardinals came as a freshman, when he tallied six points in nine minutes.

•Erik Fromm, who hit both of his free throw attempts against Vanderbilt, is tied for seventh in the BIG EAST in free throw shooting (.889).

•Kameron Woods came off the bench with seven points and three rebounds in 12 minutes in Butler's win over Ball State last year.  He hit his only three-point field goal of the season against the Cardinals.

•Kameron Woods has scored in double-figures in five of his eight career starts.

•Kameron Woods has had at least one blocked shot in eight of his last nine games, dating back to last season.

•Kameron Woods ranks third in the BIG EAST in rebounding (8.7).  He's tied for third in the league in field goal shooting (.667).

Alex Barlow only played 20 minutes against Vanderbilt, because of foul trouble, but still found time to post five points, four rebounds, three assists, one blocked shot and one steal.

•Alex Barlow is second in the BIG EAST in assist/turnover ratio (11.0).  Barlow has 11 assists and just one turnover in three games.

•Alex Barlow had five points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals against Ball State last year.

Jackson Aldridge came off the bench with seven points in a season-high 20 minutes against Vanderbilt.

Devontae Morgan had a career-high two steals, and he matched his career-high with three rebounds against Vanderbilt.

•Kellen Dunham has scored in double-figures in each of the nine games Butler has played since Brandon Miller was named head coach (four in Australia, two exhibition and three regular season).

•Butler is 24-6 all-time in games in which Kellen Dunham has hit a three-point field goal.

•Freshman Andrew Chrabascz scored a career-high seven points in 10 minutes against Vanderbilt.

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

•Brandon Miller had 11 points and four rebounds to help Butler to a 75-66 win over then #21 Ball State at Worthen Arena on Dec. 19, 2001.  Miller was 3-0 against Ball State as a player.

•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.

•Butler ranks third in the BIG EAST in field goal shooting (.484) and in three-point field goals (6.7).

•Butler is second in the BIG EAST in turnover margin (+6.0).  The Bulldogs are averaging just 8.3 turnovers through the first three games.