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No. 12/13 Butler Bulldogs Host No. 15/14 Xavier On Saturday

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #12/13 Butler Bulldogs return to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday to play two games in a 48-hour window. The Bulldogs host the #15/14 Xavier Musketeers on Saturday before Marquette arrives on Monday. Butler and the Musketeers currently sit in the top half of the BIG EAST Conference standings as the Bulldogs are 3-2 in league play (14-3 overall), while the Musketeers are 3-1 in the BIG EAST and 13-3 overall. The 2 PM ET tip will air nationally on FS1 with Tim Brando and Nick Bahe on the call.

Saturday’s game matching #12/13 Butler and #15/14 Xavier will be only the third game in Hinkle Fieldhouse history with Butler and its opponent both ranked in the Top 15. The other two times: January 19, 2013 when Roosevelt Jones hit a floater at the buzzer as #13 Butler defeated #8 Gonzaga, 64-63, and a New Year’s Eve contest last season when #9 Butler lost to #12 Providence.

This will be the 56th match-up between Butler and Xavier in a series that includes time together in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (later known as the Horizon League), one year in the Atlantic 10, and joining the BIG EAST together prior to the 2013-14 season. Xavier owns a 37-18 advantage with the teams first meeting on Jan. 16, 1937. Xavier had its six-game winning streak snapped at Villanova on Tuesday

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Senior Forward Andrew Chrabascz

Last time on the court, #8/8 Creighton defeated #12/13 Butler, 75-64, Wednesday night in Omaha. The Bluejays capitalized on a 47-27 halftime lead and shot 55 percent for the game, which was a season-high for a Butler opponent. Butler’s 64 points were a season-low as the Bulldogs shot only 41 percent in the contest. The loss was the first time in the last four outings that Butler did not win the rebounding battle as Creighton had a 34-30 advantage. After out-rebounding its first five opponents, the Bulldogs had only pulled down more boards than one of its last eight opponents prior to that three-game stretch. The loss was the team’s first setback against a Top 25 opponent this season. The Bulldogs knocked off their first four ranked opponents, including three with Top 10 rankings at the time of the game (Arizona, Indiana and Villanova).

Butler is 9-0 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, and carries a current 12-game home winning streak into Saturday’s game. Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann is 35-6 at Hinkle Fieldhouse as head coach of the Bulldogs and 19-3 following a loss.

Butler has led at the half in 10 of 17 games this season. When leading at the half, the Bulldogs are 10-0 this season and 50-7 under Holtmann.

Junior F Kelan Martin has led the team in scoring in eight games. Martin leads the Bulldogs in both scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.5 rpg). The Creighton game was the first this season when he didn’t score in double figures.

Redshirt senior G Kethan Savage is averaging 10.4 points per game in BIG EAST play. Those 52 points through five games are in contrast to a total of 18 points in his first eight outings of the season as he got back up to speed after missing the beginning of the regular season due to illness.

Sophomore C Nate Fowler posted 11 points at Georgetown, his second career game in double figures. He is shooting 71 percent from the field on the season

Freshman G Kamar Baldwin is averaging 1.9 steals per game, which is good for second in the BIG EAST and 47th nationally.

Butler’s bench has out-scored the opponent’s reserves in 14 of 17 games this season. In the team’s five BIG EAST games, the Bulldogs’ second unit is out-scoring the opposing team’s bench by a margin of 147-59, which is an 88-point differential and an average of 17.6 points per game.

On the season, Butler’s 48.3% shooting is third in the BIG EAST and 32nd in the nation. The Bulldogs are 11-0 when shooting a better percentage than their opponents, something they have not done in either of their last two games.

The Bulldogs are shooting nearly 10 percentage points better from behind the three-point line than their opponents. The Bulldogs are shooting 38.7 % from distance, which is third in the BIG EAST. Butler’s opponents have been limited to 29.9% as Butler’s defense from behind the arc is ranked second in the BIG EAST and 21st in the nation.

Butler is 9-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.

On the season, the Bulldogs are averaging only 10.4 turnovers per game. That mark is eighth nationally.

Butler’s turnover margin of +3.9 leads the BIG EAST and is 18th 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.FS

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