Butler Hosts UIC In A Nationally-Televised Contest
HOME STRETCH: Butler, coming off a stretch of three road games in six days, will play four of its final six regular season games at home, beginning with a nationally-televised test against UIC on Friday, Feb. 13. The two Horizon League foes will square off in Hinkle Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast to a national audience on ESPNU. The Bulldogs (21-2) bounced back from a 75-66 loss at Green Bay in the first game of the three-game road swing to post victories at Detroit, 66-61, and Wright State, 69-51. The two wins lifted Butler to 12-1 in league play, and kept the Bulldogs one game ahead of second place Green Bay (11-2). UIC (11-13, 4-10 HL) defeated Detroit, 64-53, on Tuesday (Feb. 10) in its last outing. Butler will continue its homestand with a game against Loyola on Sunday, Feb. 15.
Butler has tied the 11th-highest single season win total in school history.
HOUSE WORK: Butler is 11-0 in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, and the Bulldogs have won 15 straight games on their homecourt since dropping a decision to nationally-ranked Drake in last year's BracketBusters game. The Bulldogs boast wins in 53 of their last 57 contests in the Fieldhouse, including 32 of their last 33 Horizon League games. Butler is 121-15 (.890) at home since 1999-00.
POLL WATCH: Butler is ranked in the "Top 25" in both the Associated Press (A.P.) and ESPN/USA Today national polls for the sixth consecutive week. The Bulldogs, ranked as high as No. 11 this season, currently stand at No. 15 in both polls. Butler was ranked in both national polls for a school- and Horizon League-record 19 consecutive weeks last year, and the Bulldogs have been ranked for 26 weeks under second-year head coach Brad Stevens.
BEST STARTS: The Bulldogs own a share of the best 23-game record in Butler men's basketball history. Butler also posted a 21-2 record in 2006-07 under coach Todd Lickliter and last year under coach Brad Stevens.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bulldogs jumped to a 19-2 lead and never looked back while picking up a wire-to-wire road victory over Wright State in front of a sellout crowd at the Nutter Center. Butler held the host squad to just seven points in the first 10 minutes of the contest, and the Raiders didn't cash their third field goal until nearly 12 minutes had elapsed. The Bulldogs, fueled by 57% shooting, led by as many as 21 points in the first half and by 18 points at halftime, 39-21. Wright State never go closer than 14 points in the final period. Butler's 69 points were the most scored against Wright State in the past 20 games and the third-most against the nation's second-ranked defense this season. The victory was Butler's first against the Raiders in the Nutter Center since 2003, snapping Wright State's five-game homecourt win streak against the Bulldogs.
HOT HAND: Sophomore Zach Hahn came off the bench at Wright State and led all scorers with 17 points. The 6-1 guard put on a long-range shooting exhibition and fueled Butler's strong start by hitting five of five three-point field goal attempts in the first 20 minutes! The 17 points were a career-high for the second-year player, as were the five three-point field goals. His six total field goals in the win also were a career-best.
Zach Hahn ranks seventh in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (1.6).
LEAGUE RECOGNITION: Freshman Gordon Hayward, who led the Bulldogs in scoring in two of three games last week, was named Horizon League Co-Player of the Week. The 6-8 forward scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds at Green Bay and then posted 22 points and six rebounds at Detroit. He hit all seven shots that he attempted against the Titans, including four from beyond the three-point arc. Hayward finished the week with nine points, seven rebounds and four assists in Butler's victory at Wright State. The first-year player has led the Bulldogs in scoring in three of the last four games. He shared Player of the Week honors with Ryan Tillema of Green Bay.
Gordon Hayward has been league Player of the Week three times this season.
THREE THINKING: The Bulldogs struck early and often from beyond the three-point arc at Wright State. Butler hit nine of 15 (60%) long-range shots in the first half and finished the game with 12 three-point field goals in 24 attempts. The 12 three-pointers matched Butler's third-highest single game total this season. The Bulldogs are 13-0 this season when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.
Butler leads the Horizon League in three-point field goals (8.9).
DEFENSIVE MOVE: The Bulldogs, ranked third in the NCAA Division I in team scoring defense (56.3), edged closer to the second-ranked team, Wright State (55.6), by holding the Raiders to 51 points. It was the third time in the last five games and the 14th time overall that Butler held an opponent to 55 points or less.
WOODEN WATCH: Butler sophomore Matt Howard has been named to the Midseason Top 30 candidates list for the John R. Wooden Award, presented to the nation's best player by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Howard currently leads the Bulldogs in rebounding, blocked shots and field goal shooting, while ranking second in scoring.
FIRST-YEAR PRODUCTION: Butler's duo of Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack continue to climb the Bulldogs' all-time freshman scoring list. Hayward has moved into sixth place on the list with 313 points, while Mack stands 11th with 288 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 (13.6), while Mack is eighth (12.5).
•Butler has maintained the top spot in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 for the fifth 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 game will start at 12 noon and be televised nationally on ESPN.
•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 on ESPN2. The game will start at 12 noon.
•Butler picked up its tenth road victory of the season at Wright State. The Bulldogs are leading the NCAA Division I in road wins.
•Sophomore Matt Howard was named Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Month for January, and he was chosen first team on the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District V Team. Howard is an honor student majoring in finance.
•Matt Howard is Butler's leading scorer in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season. The 6-8 forward is averaging 13.2 points in Butler's 11 home games.
•Matt Howard leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.509). He's shooting .566 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.
•Matt Howard, who had eight blocked shots last week, 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 (.468). He hit eight of 14 (.571) long-range shots on Butler's three-game road trip.
•Junior Willie Veasley has posted eight of his 15 career double-figures scoring performances in the past 14 games. Veasley matched his career-high with five field goals at Wright State.
•Sophomore Shawn Vanzant injured his left knee in his first minute of action at Detroit and did not return to the game. He did not play at Wright State, and his status is being evaluated day-to-day.
•Butler ranks third in the NCAA Division I in scoring defense, fourth in field goal percentage defense and 12th in three-point field goals per game.
•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 scoring offense (68.0). The Bulldogs also are leading the league in rebounding margin (+3.0).
•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 (13.6), fifth in rebounding
(6.3), fifth in field goal shooting (.487), first in three-point
field goal shooting (.468), third in free throw shooting (.802),
fourth in three-point field goals (2.3), sixth in steals (1.7),
eighth in blocked shots (1.0), tied for third in defensive rebounds
(5.0) and tied for ninth in minutes played (32.0).