Butler Continues Key Road Stretch At Detroit
TRAVELING BAND: Butler will play the second of three consecutive Horizon League road games when it visits Detroit for a rematch contest on Thursday, Feb. 5. The game at Calihan Hall on the Detroit campus is scheduled for 8 p.m. (ET) and will be televised live on Fox Sports Detroit and replayed on FSN Indiana at 9:45 p.m. Butler (19-2, 10-1 Horizon League) will be trying to rebound from a league setback for the first time this season. The Bulldogs fell at Green Bay, 75-66, on Monday (Feb. 2), ending an 11-game winning streak and a league-record streak of 21 straight Horizon League victories. It also ended Butler's 10-game Horizon League road winning streak. Detroit (6-15, 1-10 HL) posted a 68-64 victory in overtime at Youngstown State in its last outing on Saturday (Jan. 31). The Titans have won two of their last three contests. Butler and Detroit are meeting for the second time this season, with the Bulldogs capturing a narrow, 54-50, victory in the first meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Jan. 10.
Butler has not lost back-to-back games in the past 107 outings.
BEST STARTS: Despite the loss at Green Bay, the Bulldogs still own a share of the best 21-game record in Butler men's basketball history. Butler also posted a 19-2 record in 2006-07 under coach Todd Lickliter and last season under coach Brad Stevens.
POLL WATCH: Butler climbed to No. 11 in both the Associated Press (A.P.) and ESPN/USA Today national polls on Monday (Feb. 2). It's the highest the Bulldogs have been ranked since last March, when Butler was No. 11 in the A. P. poll and No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Butler was ranked in both polls for a school- and Horizon League-record 19 consecutive weeks last year.
TITLE CHASE: Butler's lead in the Horizon League regular season race has been trimmed to one-half game over Green Bay (10-2) and one and a half games over Milwaukee (9-3). The Bulldogs have held the top spot in the league standings since the first weekend of league play.
LAST TIME OUT: Host Green Bay made 32 of 35 free throw attempts, including 30 of 33 in the second half, while handing Butler its first league setback since Jan. 17, 2008 (at Cleveland State, 56-52). The Phoenix held a 38-36 lead with 17 minutes remaining in the game, before parading to the free throw line for 30 of its final 37 points. The 32 free throws made were the most by a Butler opponent since November of 1997, when Stanford hit 32 against the Bulldogs in the championship game of the Big Island Invitational in Hawaii. The Bulldogs trailed by just four points, 61-57, with 3:41 remaining, but Green Bay closed with a 14-9 run including 11 points at the charity stripe. It was Green Bay's first victory over the Bulldogs since 2004-05.
Butler is 12-3 in its last 15 Horizon League road contests.
YOUTH LEADER: Freshman Gordon Hayward topped the Bulldogs in scoring for the second straight game and took over the team scoring lead on the season with a 22-point performance at Green Bay. The 6-8 forward hit seven of 14 shots against the Phoenix, including three of seven from beyond the three-point arc. He also hit five of six attempts from the free throw line. It was the third time in five games and the sixth time this season that Hayward has led the Bulldogs in scoring. He's averaging 17.2 points over Butler's last five games.
Gordon Hayward leads the Bulldogs in scoring on the road this season with a 16.3 average.
REJECTION LETTER: Sophomore Matt Howard recorded a career-high five blocked shots at Green Bay, sparking the Bulldogs to their second-highest single game total for blocks this season. Butler's seven total blocked shots against the Phoenix were the most since November 29, when the Bulldogs recorded eight blocked shots against Evansville. Howard has eight blocked shots in Butler's last two games.
Matt Howard ranks second in the Horizon League in blocked shots (1.6).
OFF THE GLASS: The Bulldogs out-rebounded Green Bay, 39-31, to boost their league-leading rebounding margin to +2.9. Sophomore Matt Howard and freshman Gordon Hayward led the way against the Phoenix with seven rebounds apiece, while junior Avery Jukes and freshman Shelvin Mack each added five. The Bulldogs have out-rebounded four of their last six foes and 13 opponents on the season. The last time Butler out-rebounded its opponents on the season was in 1999-2000, when the Bulldogs finished with a league-leading +3.5 rebound margin.
FRESH PRODUCTION: Butler's duo of Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack continue to climb the Bulldogs' all-time freshman scoring list. Hayward has taken the No. 10 spot on the list with 282 points, while Mack has moved into the No. 12 position with 266 tallies. Jeff Williams (1972-73) holds the No. 11 position with 278 points, while Jermaine Guice (1990-91) is ninth with 299 points. Butler's freshman scoring record is 476 points by Tony Warren in 1979-80. Hayward and Mack are the top-scoring freshmen in the Horizon League. Hayward ranks fifth overall with a 13.4 average, while Mack is tied for eighth with a 12.7 mark.
TALKING DEFENSE: Green Bay matched the most points scored against the Bulldogs this season and became the first team since early December to score more than 70 points against Butler. The Bulldogs did limit Green Bay to 35.2% shooting from the field and 27.8% from the three-point arc. Butler leads the Horizon League in field goal percentage defense (.375) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.301), while ranking second in scoring defense (56.3).
SUCCESSFUL BEGINNING: Butler was unbeaten in the month of January for the first time in a decade. The Bulldogs, who opened and closed last month with victories over Valparaiso, ran off eight consecutive Horizon League wins during the first month of 2009. It was Butler's best January performance since 1998-99, when the Bulldogs compiled a 10-0 mark. Butler also recorded an unbeaten record in November (5-0), while finishing 6-1 in December.
•Butler has maintained the top spot in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 for the fourth consecutive week. Gonzaga is ranked second and Davidson stands third.
•The Bulldogs will visit Davidson for a feature game in the 7th Annual ESPNU BracketBusters series on Feb. 21. The starting time and specific ESPN network will be announced on Feb. 9.
•Butler entered this week ranked third in the NCAA Division I in scoring defense, 11th in field goal percentage defense and 12th in three-point field goal percentage defense.
•The Bulldogs lead the Horizon League in road victories with eight. Butler has 19 road wins under head coach Brad Stevens.
•Sophomore Matt Howard is shooting .600 (39-65) over Butler's last 10 games. Howard leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.506).
•Matt Howard's five blocked shots at Green Bay were the most by a Butler player since 2001, when Joel Cornette posted five blocks against Milwaukee.
•Freshman Gordon Hayward continues to lead the Horizon League in three-point field goal shooting (.452). Hayward did not make a three-point field goal against Detroit in the first meeting this season.
•Gordon Hayward is shooting .490 from the field, .516 from the three-point arc and .821 from the free throw stripe over Butler's 10 road contests this season.
•Junior Willie Veasley has posted half of his 14 career double-figures scoring performances in the past 12 games.
•Freshman Shelvin Mack had eight assists at Green Bay, matching his career-high set in three previous games.
•Shelvin Mack leads the Horizon League in assist/turnover ratio (2.0) and ranks fourth in the league in assists (4.0).
•Butler is leading the Horizon League in scoring margin (+11.7). The Bulldogs are second in the league in scoring defense (56.3) and third in the circuit in scoring offense (68.0).
•The Bulldogs continue to lead the Horizon League in three-point field goals (8.9). Butler is 12-0 this season when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.
•Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack are ranked in the top five in the Horizon League in three-point field goals. Hayward is fourth with 47 three-pointers, while Mack is fifth with 45.
•The Bulldogs feature three of the top six free throw shooters in the Horizon League. Gordon Hayward ranks third in the league (.788), Shelvin Mack stands fourth (.785) and Matt Howard is sixth (.769).
•Gordon Hayward is the only player in the Horizon League
who ranks in the "Top 10" in the circuit in ten different
categories! He's fifth in scoring (13.4), fifth in rebounding
(6.3), fifth in field goal shooting (.478), first in three-point
field goal shooting (.452), third in free throw shooting (.788),
fourth in three-point field goals (2.2), fifth in steals (1.8),
tied for fifth in blocked shots (1.0), fourth in defensive rebounds
(4.9) and tenth in minutes played (31.6).