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Butler Bulldogs Host Kennesaw State to Open 2017-2018 Regular Season

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs will open the 2017-2018 men’s basketball regular season on Friday, November 10 when the host the Kennesaw State Owls at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The game will tip at 7 PM ET and can be seen on FOX College Sports with Wayne Randazzo & Jordan Cornette on the call. The Bulldogs will look for their first win of the season after winning both exhibition games the past two weeks.

In the only previous meeting, Butler defeated Kennesaw State, 93-51, on Dec. 8, 2014 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. (Then freshmen) Kelan Martin had 17 points in 20 minutes while Tyler Wideman added six points. Butler has won 35 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents. The streak dates back to a loss to Pittsburgh in the 2012 College Basketball Invitational (CBI).

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Freshman Guard Aaron Thompson

Butler opened the 2017-18 season with a pair of exhibition wins. In the team’s last outing, the Bulldogs defeated Lincoln Memorial, an NCAA Division II Final Four team, 86-79, Saturday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler shot 56 percent from the field with senior F Kelan Martin leading four Bulldogs in double figures with 19 points.

Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan, who helped Butler to conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances as both a player and an assistant coach, returns to his alma mater as the 24th head coach in men’s basketball program history. Butler Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier made the announcement June 12. Friday’s game will be his first official game in charge of the Butler program.

Jordan served as the head coach at Milwaukee during the 2016-17 season after six seasons as an assistant coach at Michigan.

The Bulldogs utilized a four-game foreign tour to Spain to prepare for the 2017-18 campaign. The team went 4-0, playing professional teams in Madrid, Albacete, Valencia, and Barcelona, from August 2-12. The team flew to Spain on coach LaVall Jordan’s 50th day as Butler’s head coach. The Bulldogs also made time for extensive sight-seeing throughout the country.

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

Senior F Kelan Martin has been named to the 20-member watch list for the 2018 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates. 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. Those marks placed eighth and ninth, respectively, in the BIG EAST for the 2016-17 season. He shot 78 percent from the free throw line, also in the Top 10 among conference players.

On the eve of the 2017-18 season, Martin picked up yet another preseason recognition, being named to The Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List. The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced 50 players for the coveted award, which will be presented for the 50th time on April 1, 2018. A list of the midseason 30 team will be released on Feb. 14, 2018.

The 6-7 forward from Louisville, Ky., scored 20 or more points in 10 games for the Bulldogs last season, and led the team in scoring 15 times. 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 enters the season with 1,304 career points, a total that already ranks 23rd on Butler’s all-time scoring list.

Following the game on Friday, the Bulldogs will stay home for a quick turnaround on Sunday night as they play host to the Princeton Tigers. The tip is scheduled for 6 PM ET and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.

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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