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Butler Bulldogs Host Marquette On Senior Day

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs will close out the regular season with “Senior Day” Saturday (March 5) at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Marquette Golden Eagles (19-11, 8-9 BIG EAST) comes to Indianapolis for the second BIG EAST Conference match-up of the season with the Bulldogs. Butler has won six of its last eight and has jumped into a tie for fourth in the BIG EAST. The Bulldogs are 20-9 overall and 9-8 in conference play. The tip is scheduled for 2:30 PM and can be seen on FOX Sports Network Affiliates with Alex Faust and Vin Parise on the call. It can also be heard on 1070 AM, 93.5 FM and the TuneIn Radio App with Mark Minner and Nick Gardner.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Seniors
Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Seniors

Butler will recognize its four seniors in a postgame ceremony Saturday against Marquette. Redshirt senior G/F Roosevelt Jones and senior G Kellen Dunham find themselves among the Butler Top 10 on many of the Bulldogs’ career statistical lists. Graduate transfer F Austin Etherington is in his second season after transferring from Indiana, while G Jordan Gathers is a graduate transfer student competing in his only season at Butler after graduating from St. Bonaventure with a season of eligibility remaining. Jones has been part of 92 wins during his Butler career; Dunham’s teams have won 84. (Jones’s total includes games from his freshman season of 2011-12, but not the 2013-14 season that he sat out as a medical redshirt.) Dunham’s 22 points led the Bulldogs in scoring Wednesday. It was the tenth time this season and 50th time as a Bulldog that the senior has led the team in scoring.

Butler and Marquette meet for the 33rd time in series history with the Golden Eagles owning a 17-15 advantage. The teams first met during the 1922-23 season and have been rivals in two different conferences over the years, first as Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now the Horizon League) foes in the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons, and then in the BIG EAST beginning with the 2013-14 season. Butler won the two match-ups last season and Marquette won in Milwaukee on Jan. 30.

Entering Saturday’s action, Butler is in a three-way tie for fourth place in the BIG EAST standings. Based upon Saturday’s results, Butler could enter the BIG EAST Tournament in New York City as high as the #4 seed and as low as the #7 seed. The top six seeds receive a bye into Thursday’s quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden.

Last time out for the Bulldogs, Butler hit key free throws down the stretch to secure an 85-78 win over Seton Hall on Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Kellen Dunham led the Bulldogs with 22 and Roosevelt Jones added 20. Butler made eight of 10 free throws in the last 1:36 of the contest in addition to a Jones runner in the lane to take a 75-73 lead. Butler scored the first two points of the second half to take a 17-point lead at 45-28, but Seton Hall chipped away at the lead with a 12-0 run to get it to 45-40 with 13:42 to play. The Bulldogs would not relinquish the lead as they were able to withstand 22 second-half points from the Pirates sophomore G Isaiah Whitehead. For the fourth time this season, Butler had two players top 20 points in Wednesday’s win over Seton Hall with Kellen Dunham had 22 points and Roosevelt Jones added 20. Butler also achieved this against Creighton, St. John’s and Tennessee this season.

Butler shot 51% from the field in Wednesday’s win over Seton Hall. It was the tenth time this season that Butler has shot 50% or better from the field. Butler is 10-0 in those games. Under head coach Chris Holtmann, Butler is 17-0 when shooting at least 50% from the field. After shooting only 62% from the free throw line in its previous two games, Butler stepped up to the line and made 25-of-32 in the win over Seton Hall (78%). Butler made 10 of its 12 attempts in the final two minutes of the game to secure the win. For the 16th time this season, Butler committed 10 or fewer turnovers with only 10 miscues in the win over Seton Hall. Butler leads the BIG EAST and ranks tenth nationally in turnovers per game (10.1).

A (then) career-high 27 points from sophomore G Kelan Martin wasn’t enough as Butler fell in a tight contest in Milwaukee, 75-69, back on Jan. 30. Marquette shot 52% from the field, including 10-of-17 from behind the arc. Henry Ellenson had 32 points and 10 rebounds for the Golden Eagles. He made 14 of his 16 free throw attempts. Junior F Andrew Chrabascz had a career-high of 30 points against Marquette in Milwaukee on Jan. 31, 2015. He went 11-of-17 from the field in that game. Kellen Dunham averages 17.6 points per game in five career match-ups with the Golden Eagles.

Graduate transfer F Austin Etherington scored eight points off the bench in Wednesday’s win, including making both of his three-point attempts. He had a career-high 17 points in the Feb. 16 win over Creighton. In his last four games, Etherington has combined to make seven of his nine three-point attempts (78%).

Senior G Kellen Dunham scored a team-high 22 points against Seton Hall, one game after putting up 29 points at Georgetown. Dunham has now scored 20 or more points in 10 contests this season. In those two games, he is shooting 50% from the field and 8-of-17 (47.1%) from three-point range.

In BIG EAST games, Dunham leads the conference in three-point percentage (.490) and three-pointers made (2.8 per game). He has made three or more from behind the arc in 10 of the 17 BIG EAST contests.

Kellen Dunham has led the team in scoring in the last two games. Prior to that, sophomore Kelan Martin led the Bulldog scorers in seven straight games (starting with the Jan. 30 game at Marquette). In that seven-game streak, Martin averaged 22.6 points per game.

Sixteen of Roosevelt Jones’s 20 points came in the second half against Seton Hall Wednesday. The 20 points were just shy of his season-high of 23 against DePaul Jan. 27. The scoring output also pushed Jones to 1,491 career points, moving passed Jon Neuhouser for 13th on Butler’s career scoring list.

Redshirt senior G/F Roosevelt Jones is the only player in Butler history to rank in the Top 10 in both career rebounds and assists. Jones currently ranks fifth in both categories with 445 assists and 790 rebounds. He is also eighth in career steals (142) and 13th in career scoring with 1,491 career points.

The versatility of Jones is evidenced by being in the Top 15 in seven BIG EAST statistical categories: second in steals (1.6), fourth in minutes (33.4), fifth in assists (4.7), seventh in assist/turnover ratio (2.0), ninth in rebounding (6.7), 11th in scoring (14.3), 14th in offensive rebounding (2.1), and 15th in field goal percentage (.487).

Redshirt junior PG Tyler Lewis is seventh nationally in assist to turnover ratio. His 3.81 ratio is based on 80 assists against only 21 turnovers this season.

The Butler offense has thrived at Hinkle Fieldhouse during the 2015-16 season. Its 12-3 home record includes an average of 85 points per game and 49% shooting from the field. The Bulldogs are 5-5 in true road games this season, averaging 75.2 points per game.

Butler opened the BIG EAST season with a 2-5 record. The Bulldogs have responded to go 7-3 in their last 10 games. In the 7-3 portion of the schedule, the Bulldogs are averaging 78 points per game and shooting 42% from behind the arc. During the 2-5 portion of the conference schedule, Butler averaged 69.1 points and shot 35 percent from three-point range. Kelan Martin’s scoring has risen from 14.9 points per game (2-5) to 19.7 points per game (7-3).

The Bulldogs have scored at least 80 points in six of its last eight games. Butler has also won those six games. The Bulldogs have also shot at least 43% from behind the arc in each of those contests. Butler’s scoring average of 80.8 points per game this season leads the BIG EAST and is 21st nationally.

With Wednesday’s win over Seton Hall, Butler captured its 20th win of the season. It marks the 21st time that the Bulldogs have won 20 games in a season and the tenth time in the last 11 seasons. Chris Holtmann’s Bulldogs won 23 games in 2014-15, his first season on the Butler sidelines as head coach.

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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