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Butler Bulldogs Set to Host Xavier

 

BUTLER (11-5, 1-2 BIG EAST) vs. XAVIER (11-4, 2-1 BIG EAST)
When: Saturday, January 10, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Ind.
TV: FOX Sports 1 (Joe Davis, Tarik Turner)
Radio: 1070 AM/107.5 FM (Mark Minner, Nick Gardner)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, the top defensive team in the BIG EAST, will face the highest-scoring squad in the league when the Xavier Musketeers come to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a Big East Conference game on Saturday, Jan. 10. The contest, originally slated for 2 p.m. on FOX Sport Net, has been moved to 4:30 p.m. (ET) and will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.

Butler currently leads the BIG EAST in team scoring defense (58.2). The Bulldogs have held 10 of their first 16 opponents this season under 60 points and 15 of 16 under 70 points. Xavier brings a league-best 79.2 scoring average, and the Musketeers have scored more than 80 points in seven of their first 15 games. The high-scoring Cincinnati squad won both regular season games with Butler a year ago. The Bulldogs fell to 11-5 on the season and 1-2 in BIG EAST play, following a 66-62 loss to Providence at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Tuesday. It was Butler’s first home loss of the season and snapped the Bulldogs’ eight-game homecourt winning streak, dating back to last year. Xavier improved to 11-4 overall and 2-1 in conference with a 69-58 victory at home over #19 Seton Hall on Wednesday.

The Providence Friars put together a strong second half and closed the game with a 9-4 run to snatch a 66-62, come-from-behind victory over the Bulldogs on Tuesday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Friars, who trailed 36-29 at halftime and by as many as eight points in the final period, battled back and took the lead for good at 59-58 on a dunk by Paschal Chukwu with 1:26 left in the game. Butler trailed by a single point, 63-62, with nine seconds remaining, following a steal and a lay-up by senior guard Alex Barlow, but Providence closed out the victory with three free throws in the final seconds. The Friars out-scored Butler, 37-26, and out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 24-12, in the second half. It was only the second time in 11 games this season that the Bulldogs lost a game when leading at halftime.

Junior guard Kellen Dunham, who scored a season-high 28 points in Butler’s win at St. John’s three days earlier, led the Bulldogs in scoring for the second straight game with 18 points against Providence. The 6-6 Butler guard scored 13 points in the first half, while helping Butler to a seven-point halftime lead. Dunham has had at least a share of Butler’s scoring lead in seven of the past 11 contests and in ten total games this season. Kellen Dunham is shooting 51.9% from the field, 56.8% from the three-point arc and 84.2% from the free throw line in Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.

Junior guard Kellen Dunham became the 36th Butler player to score 1,000 career points in December, and he’s continued his climb on Butler’s all-time scoring list since. Dunham boosted his career scoring total to 1,122 points with his performance against Providence, and he moved into the No. 28 spot on the all-time list, ahead of former head coach Brandon Miller (2000-03). He trails Tom Orner (1975-79) in the No. 27 position by 12 points and former teammate Andrew Smith (2009-13) in the No. 26 spot by 25 points. Last year, Dunham ranked seventh in the BIG EAST in scoring (16.4), while becoming just the fifth sophomore in Butler history to score 500 points in a season.

Kellen Dunham moved into ninth place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals with a trio of three-pointers against Providence. He enters Butler’s game against Xavier with 176 career three-pointers, five shy of Jody Littrell (1986-90) in the No. 8 spot. Former sharp-shooter Pete Campbell (2006-08) stands seventh all-time with 183 career three-point field goals, while Avery Sheets (2002-06) is sixth with 184.

Kellen Dunham is currently ranked third in the BIG EAST in scoring (17.0), second in the BIG EAST in three-point field goals (2.6), third in the BIG EAST and 14th in the NCAA Division I in 3-point field goal shooting (47.1%), and third in the BIG EAST in free throw shooting (86.7%).

Senior guard Alex Barlow matched the highest single game total in the BIG EAST this season with a career-high seven steals against Providence. The seven steals were the most by a Butler player since Feb. 1, 2001, when Hall of Fame point-guard Thomas Jackson came up with seven thefts against Green Bay. Earlier this season, Sir’Dominic Pointer of St. John’s had seven steals against Tulane. Barlow, who’s had at least one steal in 14-of-16 games this season, moved into sixth place on Butler’s all-time list for steals with 154 career thefts, two behind Hall of Fame guard Darrin Fitzgerald (1983-87) in the No. 5 position. Alex Barlow is ranked third in the NCAA Division I in total steals (41). Alex Barlow also ranks second in the BIG EAST and tenth in the NCAA Division I in steals per game (2.56). Alex Barlow ranks seventh all-time in the BIG EAST in steals (154), trailing Kerry Kittles (1992-96) of Villanova in sixth with 156 steals.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Kameron Woods (Brent Smith)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Kameron Woods (Brent Smith)

Senior forward Kameron Woods recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds against Providence. It was his first against a BIG EAST foe this year. The 6-9 forward has 13 career double-doubles, including three against BIG EAST opponents.

Kameron Woods, one of just nine players in Butler basketball history to record 700 career rebounds, moved into fourth place on Butler’s all-time rebounding list in the Bulldogs’ BIG EAST win at St. John’s last weekend. He pulled down ten rebounds against the Red Storm and then boosted his career total for rebounds to 763 with 11 boards against Providence. Only three players in Butler history have reached 800 career rebounds. Woods, who led the BIG EAST in rebounding (9.0) a year ago, has topped Butler in rebounding in 11 of the team’s 16 games, including eight of the past 11 and currently leads the BIG EAST in rebounding (9.0) this season.

Junior guard Roosevelt Jones finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists against Providence. In the last six games, he’s scored in double-figures four times, had at least seven rebounds five times and had two or more assists five times. He’s one of just two players in the BIG EAST (Kris Dunn of Providence is the other) who rank in the “Top 20” in the conference in scoring, rebounding and assists. Roosevelt Jones leads the Bulldogs and ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in minutes played (33.8) and is ranked fifth in the BIG EAST in assists (3.9).

Butler is second in the BIG EAST in rebounding margin (+5.5). The Bulldogs have out-rebounded 12 of 16 opponents this season. Butler leads the BIG EAST in total offensive rebounds (204). The Bulldogs are ranked second in the BIG EAST and 23rd in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.0%). Butler is ranked 29th in the NCAA Division I in team scoring defense (58.3).

Following the game with Xavier, Butler will face two straight conference road contests, beginning with a visit to nationally-ranked Seton Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 13. That game will be at 7 p.m. (ET) on FOX Sports 1.

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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