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No. 16/15 Butler Bulldogs Host No. 22/23 Cincinnati

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #16/15 Butler Bulldogs, coming of their first loss of the season, return to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a Saturday match-up with the #22/23 Cincinnati Bearcats. The 4:30 p.m. tip will air nationally on FS1 with Tim Brando and Nick Bahe on the call. The Bearcats are and bring a 7-1 record to Indianapolis.

Butler and Cincinnati meet for the 18th time Saturday afternoon. The Bearcats have a 10-7 advantage in the series, but the Bulldogs won the most recent contest a year ago in Cincinnati. Roosevelt Jones took a fullcourt pass and muscled his way into the lane for a game-winning field goal at the buzzer in the 78-76 win Dec. 2, 2015. Kellen Dunham led five Bulldogs in double figures with 24 points. The 2016 match-up concludes a home-and-home agreement between the schools. Prior to the 2015 match-up, the teams last met in the 1997 NCAA Tournament (a contest won by Cincinnati).

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Bulldogs
Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Bulldogs

Last time out for the Bulldogs, Indiana State junior G Brenton Scott was fouled with 1.5 seconds remaining in the contest and converted one of two free throws for a 72-71 win for the host Sycamores Wednesday night. Butler had overcome a five-point deficit with 43 seconds remaining. Scott had 25 points for ISU, while teammate senior F Matt Van Scyoc used six three-pointers for his 23 points. Following Butler’s loss Wednesday night, there are now only 10 undefeated teams nationally. Despite the end result, Butler had several strong takeaways at Indiana State. The Bulldogs shot a season-best 56 percent from three-point range (10-18). That included a career-best 3-for-3 performance by redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis from behind the arc. The Bulldogs shot 54 percent from the field in the second half. Unfortunately for Butler, Indiana State posted season-highs for a Butler opponent in points (72), field goal percentage (.481), three-point field goal percentage (.455), and three-pointers made (10). The Sycamores’ 14 turnovers were the fewest for a Butler foe this season. Indiana State was also only the third team to out-rebound Butler.

Butler played through senior F Andrew Chrabascz for much of the second half against Indiana State, as the forward had 15 of his 18 points after the intermission. The 18 points were a season-high. Chrabascz added seven rebounds and three assists. The senior led the team in both scoring and rebounding. It marked the third time this season that Chrabascz has led the team in rebounding after doing so in only four games over his first three seasons as a Bulldog. Chrabascz currently stands at 981 career points.

Redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis has led the team in assists in seven of Butler’s nine games this season. He has registered at least four assists in all but one contest. Lewis’s 5.4 assists per game rank third in the BIG EAST and 50th nationally. His 3.77 assist/turnover ratio leads the BIG EAST and is 19th in the country. Entering this season, Lewis had never shot better than 39 percent from the field or 29 percent from three-point range in a season. In 2016-17, he is shooting 64 percent and 53 percent, respectively, in those two statistics.

Junior F Kelan Martin (14), junior F Tyler Wideman (12) and Andrew Chrabascz (11) each posted double-figures against Cincinnati a season ago. However, the Bulldog with the most experience against Cincinnati is graduate transfer G Avery Woodson. Woodson matched up with the Bearcats four times while at Memphis. He averaged 10.0 points per game and made 11 of 22 three-point attempts in those games. Woodson ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in three-point percentage (.434) and is tied for fifth in three-pointers made at 2.56 per game.

Freshman G Kamar Baldwin had a career-high five steals Wednesday at Indiana State. Through just nine career games, Baldwin already has 22 swipes. His average of 2.44 steals per game is tied for the BIG EAST lead and is 21st nationally.

Butler is 17-3 following a loss under Head Coach Chris Holtmann. The Bulldogs are 1-0 this season against ranked opponents and have an 8-11 record against such teams under Holtmann. Chris Holtmann is 31-6 at Hinkle Fieldhouse as head coach of the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs are shooting 49.7 percent on the season and have eclipsed 50-percent shooting in four of the team’s nine games. Under Chris Holtmann, Butler is 22-0 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

Butler is only allowing opponents 61.7 points per game this season. Butler’s defensive effort combined with scoring 78.0 points per game gives the Bulldogs a scoring margin of +16.3. That is third in the BIG EAST and 32nd nationally.

Butler tied a season-low by committing only eight turnovers Saturday against Central Arkansas. On the season, the Bulldogs are only averaging 10.8 turnovers per game. That mark is second in the BIG EAST and 18th nationally.

Butler’s turnover margin of +5.8 leads the BIG EAST and is 11th nationally. On the season, Butler holds a 188-94 advantage in points off turnovers, precisely doubling up its opponents.

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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