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Butler Bulldogs Face No. 17/17 Purdue in 2017 Crossroads Classic

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, winners of five straight games, are set to face the #17/17 Purdue Boilermakers in the 2017 Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, December 16. The game is set for a noon tip and can be seen on FOX with Gus Johnson, Jim Jackson and Lisa Byington on the call. The Bulldogs sit at 8-2 on the season while Purdue enters with a 10-2 record.

Butler has won five straight match-ups in the series with Purdue. The three most recent games have been played as part of the Crossroads Classic (2011, 2013, 2015). Including a 2006 win, the last four games have been played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. LaVall Jordan was an assistant coach on the Butler staff that defeated Purdue, 68-65, on Dec. 16, 2006 as part of the Wooden Tradition at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Overall, Purdue leads the series, 37-19. The Boilermakers’ last win came on Dec. 19, 1998. LaVall Jordan, in his sophomore season, had three points in 13 minutes of play for Head Coach Barry Collier.

Butler is 5-1 in the Crossroads Classic. The Bulldogs also own an 11-3 mark in games played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Last time on the court, Butler put up its most impressive offensive numbers of the season in a 95-67 win over Youngstown State last Saturday. The Bulldogs shot a season-best 58.5%, which led to the season-high 95 points. For the first time this season, five Bulldogs reached double figures. Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin led the Bulldogs with 19 points against Youngstown State, a season-high for Baldwin and just the fifth time in his 44 career games that he has led Butler in scoring. Junior F/C Nate Fowler posted a season-high 12 points (on 6-of-7 shooting), while freshman F Christian David went 5-of-5 from the field to register a career-high 10 points. Butler freshman G Aaron Thompson tied his career-high with six assists against Youngstown State Saturday.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior Forward Kelan Martin

Senior F Kelan Martin posted his second consecutive double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds against Utah on Dec. 5. Martin now has three double-doubles on the season and 13 in his career. During Butler’s current five-game winning streak, Martin is averaging 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game;

The 29 points against Utah were a season-high for Martin, and the third-best scoring output of his Butler career. He made a career-best 12 field goals in the game against the Utes, and in doing so, passed Bobby Plump for 15th on Butler’s career scoring list. Including Saturday’s game against Youngstown State (when he had 15 points in limited minutes to break his streak of three-straight 20-point games), he now has 1,480 career points.

For Martin, the win over Utah was his 26th career 20-point outing and the 36th time in his Butler career that he has led the team in scoring. He leads the BIG EAST in minutes per game so far this season (35.1).

In his most recent outing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Kelan Martin had 28 points, including five three-pointers, in an 83-78 win over Indiana in the 2016 Crossroads Classic.

Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin is fourth in the BIG EAST, averaging 2.0 steals per game. He had a four-game stretch earlier this season (Nov. 15 at Maryland through Portland State on Nov. 24) where he had three steals in each contest. Baldwin had 59 steals last season, a mark that is eighth on Butler’s single-season list. He had seven games of three or more steals last season.

Kamar Baldwin set a new career-high with five assists against Utah. Seeing minutes at point guard this season, Baldwin has 29 assists through 10 games after handing out only 50 assists in 34 games last season

Redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen has hit 53 percent of his three-point attempts (16-of-30) and is averaging 13.2 points per game during Butler’s five game winning streak. Jorgensen is third on the team in assists (24), and has only committed six turnovers on the season.

Senior F Tyler Wideman is shooting 83 percent from the field over the five game winning streak, making 20 of his 24 attempts. Butler’s defense has limited its opponents to just .401 shooting.

Wideman is tied for the BIG EAST lead, shooting 71.4 percent so far this season.

The win against Youngstown State highlighted some of Butler’s keys to victory so far this season. The Bulldogs are undefeated when any of the following occur: leading at halftime (7-0), shooting a better percentage from the field than their opponent (6-0), shooting 50 percent or better from the field (6-0), out-rebounding their opponent (6-0), and attempting more free throws than their opponent (4-0).

Butler has won the points-in-the-paint battle in all eight of its wins this season. The Bulldogs had a season-best 62 points in the paint against Youngstown State Saturday. The +36 discrepancy in paint points was also a season-best for the Bulldogs. On the season, Butler is averaging a +15 edge in points in the pain.

The Bulldogs are 6-0 at Hinkle this season. In those six games, the Bulldogs are averaging 83.3 points per game while shooting 54 percent from the field. Butler is 2-2 away from its home court, averaging 62.8 ppg on 38-percent shooting.

Butler has not allowed an opponent to shoot better than 46 percent in any of the past seven games. Four of those seven have shot 40 percent or worse.

As a team, Butler averages 7.3 steals per game, which is third in the BIG EAST. That goes a long way toward the team’s +4.0 turnover margin, which is also third in the conference.

Butler has won 41 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents. The streak dates back to a loss to Pittsburgh in the 2012 College Basketball Invitational (CBI). That current streak trails only Duke (138) and Arizona (45) nationally.

Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.

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