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Butler Bulldogs Return Home to Host Furman

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, returning home from a road trip and loss to Maryland, are set to host the Furman Paladins on Saturday, November 18, at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The game is set for a 2 PM ET on FS2 with Steve Physioc & Nick Bahe on the call. The Bulldogs sit at 2-1 on the season while Furman enters with a 2-0 record.

This is the first meeting between Butler and Furman as men’s basketball opponents. The Paladins won 23 games a year ago, a share of the Southern Conference regular season title, and played in the CIT. Furman’s Director of Recruiting is Tyler Lewis, who played two seasons at Butler after transferring from NC State and was second in the nation with a 4.15 assist/turnover ratio last season. Butler’s most recent match-ups with the Southern Conference came in 2015-16, posting home wins over The Citadel and VMI.

Last time on the court, Butler went a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line on Wednesday at Maryland, following up on an 18-of-21 (86 percent) performance at the stripe against Princeton. Butler is shooting 91 percent (29-32) in those two games after starting the season 12-of-23 (52 percent) against Kennesaw State. Butler committed only 10 turnovers at Maryland and is averaging 9.3 per game on the young season. Butler averaged only 10.2 turnovers per game in 2016-17. That mark was ninth nationally. Butler had 10 steals and forced Maryland into 20 total turnovers in Wednesday’s loss in College Park. Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin had three swipes, while freshman G Aaron Thompson, sophomore G/F Henry Baddley and senior F Tyler Wideman each had two.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan & Butler Freshman Guard Aaron Thompson

Butler freshman G Aaron Thompson had a career-best and game-high six assists Wednesday at Maryland, one better than the five he had in the season opener against Kennesaw State.

Butler redshirt sophomore G/F Sean McDermott had 17 points Wednesday night at Maryland. It was 10 points better than his previous career-high and was his first time leading the Bulldogs in scoring. He went 3-of-7 from behind the arc and made all four of his attempts at the free throw line.

Butler senior F Kelan Martin earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors after registering back-to-back 20-point games as Butler won two games over opening weekend. This is the fifth weekly honor for Martin, who also was recognized twice as a junior and twice as a senior.

Just three games into his senior season, Martin now has 1,356 career points, which is already 20th on Butler’s All-Time Scoring List. His 544 points in 2016-17 were the seventh-best total for a junior in Butler history.

Martin had a career-best 14 rebounds Sunday against Princeton, which contributed to his first double-double of the season and the 11th of his career. No Bulldog had more than 11 rebounds in a game last season.

Martin had team-highs of 20 points and nine rebounds Friday against Kennesaw State. After also leading the team in both categories Sunday against Princeton, Martin now has 23 career games scoring 20 or more points and he has led the Bulldogs in scoring 33 times and in rebounding 34 times (which includes the Maryland game with a team-high six rebounds).

Martin earned one of the spots on the Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team after averaging 16.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game a season ago. He has been voted an All-BIG EAST Second Team performer by the conference’s head coaches following each of the past two seasons. Martin has also been named to preseason watch lists for four prominent awards: the Wooden Award Watch List (chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious individual honor presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club) the Naismith Trophy (national player of the year presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club), the Lute Olson Award (national player of the year who has played college basketball for two or more seasons, presented by CollegeInsider.com), and the 2018 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award.

Markeese Hastings, a 6-7 forward from Wyoming, Mich., has signed a national letter of intent to join the Butler men’s basketball program beginning with the 2018-19 season. As a junior at Godwin Heights High School, Hastings averaged 14.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, and 2.1 assists.

The Bulldogs have shot at least 50 percent in both wins so far this season. The Bulldogs were 12-1 last season when making at least half of their attempts from the field. Butler has also eclipsed 80 points in both of their home games this season, something that led to a 12-2 mark last season.

BIG EAST Conference coaches picked Butler to finish eighth in the league’s preseason poll, which was released at BIG EAST Media Day on Oct. 18. The Bulldogs finished second in the league standings a season ago after being picked sixth in the preseason poll.

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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