Butler Closes Three-Game Road Stretch At Wright State
TRAVEL SQUAD: Butler ends a stretch of three Horizon League road games in six days when it visits Wright State for a rematch contest on Saturday, Feb. 7. The game at the Nutter Center is slated for 7 p.m. (ET). The Bulldogs (20-2, 11-1 Horizon League) rebounded from their first league setback earlier in the week with a 66-61 victory at Detroit on Thursday (Feb. 5). The win came on the heels of a 75-66 loss at Green Bay on Monday (Feb. 2). Wright State (14-9, 8-4 HL) also picked up a league win on Thursday with a 68-58 decision at home over Valparaiso. It was the Raiders' 12th victory in the past 14 games. The Bulldogs, who defeated Wright State, 64-48, earlier this season, are looking for their first victory over the Raiders at the Nutter Center since 2003.
Butler has posted 20 wins for the 11th time in 13 seasons.
BEST STARTS: The Bulldogs own a share of the best 22-game record in Butler men's basketball history. Butler also posted a 20-2 record in 2006-07 under coach Todd Lickliter and last season under coach Brad Stevens.
ROAD WORK: The Bulldogs lead the Horizon League and share the NCAA Division I lead in road victories with nine. Butler has 20 road wins in two seasons under head 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 leads Green Bay (10-2) by one game, Milwaukee (9-3) by two games and Wright State (8-4) by three games in the Horizon League regular season race. The Bulldogs have held the top spot in the league standings since the first weekend of league play.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bulldogs built a 10-point halftime lead at Detroit and then held off a second-half charge by the Titans to record a five-point win on Thursday (Feb. 5). Butler, behind the 12-point effort of freshman Gordon Hayward, led 35-25 after 20 minutes and stretched that lead to 42-29 four and a half minutes into the second half. But the Titans stormed back with a 15-3 run to cut Butler's margin to one, 45-44, with 7:23 remaining. Hayward answered the Titans' run with a three-point field goal at 6:59 to extend Butler's lead to four points, and the Bulldogs held on by hitting 12 of 14 free throws in the final six minutes. The victory was Butler's 22nd in the last 23 Horizon League games.
Butler is 13-3 in its last 16 Horizon League road contests.
WINTER HEAT: The Bulldogs shot a season-best .553 (21-38) from the field in their victory at Detroit. Butler hit 13 of 26 (.500) shots in the first half and eight of 12 (.667) in the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs hit 16 of the 23 shots (.696) they attempted inside the three-point arc in the game, and Butler only missed one shot in the final nine minutes of the contest. The 38 field goal attempts matched Butler's season-low, first set last month against Detroit.
Butler ranks second in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.427).
ROAD WARRIOR: Freshman Gordon Hayward led the Bulldogs in scoring for the third straight game and posted his second consecutive 22-point performance in Butler's victory at Detroit. The 6-8 forward hit all seven shots that he attempted against the Titans, including four from beyond the three-point arc. He also hit four of five attempts from the free throw line. It was the fourth time in six games and the seventh time this season that Hayward has led the Bulldogs in scoring. He's led the Bulldogs or shared the team lead in scoring in six of Butler's last eight road contests.
Gordon Hayward leads the Bulldogs in scoring on the road this season with a 16.8 average.
OFF THE GLASS: The Bulldogs out-rebounded Green Bay, 39-31, and Detroit, 27-18, to boost their league-leading rebounding margin to +3.1. Sophomore Matt Howard and freshman Gordon Hayward led the way against the Phoenix with seven rebounds apiece, while Howard topped Butler at Detroit with eight caroms. The Bulldogs have out-rebounded five of their last seven foes and 14 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 moved into a tie with Wayne Burris (1973-74) for the No. 8 spot on the list with 304 points, while Mack has taken the No. 11 position with 280 tallies. 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 13.8 average, while Mack is tied for eighth with a 12.7 mark.
FAST 50: Butler head coach Brad Stevens picked up his 50th career win at Detroit in just his 56th career game! Only two coaches in major college basketball history reached 50 wins faster. Doc Meanwell was 50-1 at Wisconsin from 1911 to 1915, and Bill Carmody won 50 of his first 55 games at Princeton from 1996 to 1998. Buck Freeman of St. John's also won his 50th game in his 56th career outing.
•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's final regular season game against Cleveland State at Hinkle Fieldhouse has been selected as the Horizon League "wildcard" game and will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The game will start at 12 noon.
•Butler ranks third in the NCAA Division I in scoring defense, 13th in field goal percentage defense and 12th in three-point field goals per game.
•Sophomore Matt Howard leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.506). He's shooting .532 in Butler's 12 Horizon League games.
•Matt Howard's has eight blocked shots in Butler's last two games. His five blocked shots at Green Bay were the most by a Butler player since 2001, when Joel Cornette posted five blocks against Milwaukee. Howard ranks second in the Horizon League in blocked shots (1.6).
•Freshman Gordon Hayward continues to lead the Horizon League in three-point field goal shooting (.472). He was perfect on four long-range shots at Detroit.
•Gordon Hayward is shooting .523 from the field, .544 from the three-point arc and .818 from the free throw stripe over Butler's 11 road contests this season.
•Junior Willie Veasley has posted half of his 14 career double-figures scoring performances in the past 13 games.
•Freshman Shelvin Mack had eight assists at Green Bay, matching his career-high set in three previous games. He ranks third in the Horizon League in assists (3.8).
•Sophomore Shawn Vanzant injured his left knee in his first minute of action at Detroit and did not return to the game. He is unlikely to play at Wright State.
•Butler is leading the Horizon League in scoring margin (+11.4). The Bulldogs are second in the league in scoring defense (56.5) and third in scoring offense (67.9).
•The Bulldogs continue to lead the Horizon League in three-point field goals (8.7). 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 51 three-pointers, while Mack is fifth with 45.
•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 (13.8), fifth in rebounding
(6.3), second in field goal shooting (.495), first in three-point
field goal shooting (.472), fourth in free throw shooting (.788),
fourth in three-point field goals (2.3), sixth in steals (1.7),
tied for fifth in blocked shots (1.0), tied for third in defensive
rebounds (5.0) and tied for tenth in minutes played (31.7).