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No. 17/18 Butler Bulldogs Set To Face No. 9/8 Purdue Boilermakers in 2015 Crossroads Classic

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #17/18 Butler Bulldogs will make the short trip downtown to meet the #8/9 Purdue Boilermakers in the 2015 Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for an 5 PM tip. The Boilermakers enter the contest undefeated at 11-0. Both teams have the week off for finals in advance of the match-up. Butler enters the contest at 8-1 and winners of five straight. The game will be televised nationally on BTN with Cory Provus and Jon Crispin on the call. Mark Minner and Nick Gardner can be heard on 107.5 FM as well as the TuneIn Radio App.

This is the 56th meeting between the in-state rivals. Purdue holds a 38-17 advantage in the series that dates back to 1901. Butler has won the last four meetings, including the two previous match-ups in the Crossroads Classic (67-65 in 2011 and 76-70 in 2013). The last three contests have all been played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Butler won a 68-65 decision as part of the 2006 Wooden Tradition).

Butler is 3-1 in the Crossroads Classic and 9-3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since the venue opened.

Three Bulldogs have seen action against Purdue. Kellen Dunham had a game-high 25 points against Purdue in the 2013 Crossroads Classic (a 76-70 win). Andrew Chrabascz saw one minute of play in that contest. Roosevelt Jones missed the 2013 match-up due to a season-long injury, but had eight points and five rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 67-65 win in 2011. Andrew Smith tipped in a Jones’ miss with a second on the clock for the final difference in that game. As a member of the Indiana Hoosiers, Austin Etherington also saw limited action in several contests against Purdue.

Last time out for the Bulldogs, Butler improved to 8-1 with a 94-86 victory over Tennessee on Saturday afternoon in front of a sell-out crowd of 9,100 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Tennessee got up by as many as 10 in the first half before the Bulldogs came back to take a halftime lead. Butler had 19 assists against only 10 turnovers and shot 52% in the second half to finish the afternoon 29-of-62 (47%). Five Bulldogs scored in double figures in Saturday’s win over Tennessee. It was the fifth time in the team’s nine games that at least five Bulldogs registered double figures. Seven Bulldogs had 10+ in the season-opening win over The Citadel, while five Bulldogs reached double figures against Cincinnati, SIUE, VMI, and Tennessee. Butler went 26-of-30 (86.7%) from the free throw line in Saturday’s win over Tennessee, a season-high percentage and Butler’s best performance since a program-record 20-for-20 at Providence in last season’s regular season finale. The Bulldogs have shot at least 66% in all nine games this season and rank second in the BIG EAST at 74.9% as a team. Both Kelan Martin (25) and Roosevelt Jones (21) eclipsed 20 points against Tennessee. That was the first time this season that Butler had two players with 20 or more points.

Sophomore G Kelan Martin came off the bench to score a career-high 25 points in only 20 minutes of action to jumpstart Butler’s offense in Saturday’s win over Tennessee. He added 20 points earlier in the week against VMI. His work earned him BIG EAST “Player of the Week” honors (announced Dec. 14). He is the second consecutive Bulldog to earn Player of the Week honors after Kellen Dunham was recognized Dec. 7.

Over the last three games, Kelan Martin has set two career-highs and has 69 points in 69 minutes of action. Against Tennessee, he shot 5-of-8 (62.5%) from behind the arc and added 11 rebounds for his second career double-double. He went on a personal 13-4 run against the Volunteers to extend a 61-59 Butler lead into a 74-63 advantage. Martin is shooting 64.3% (27-of-42) over his last three games. Thanks in large part to Kelan Martin, Butler’s bench has outscored the reserves of its last two opponents by a combined 74-11 mark.

Redshirt senior G/F Roosevelt Jones nearly registered a triple-double against Tennessee with a season high 21 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. It was his fourth double-double of the season and 11th of his career. Roosevelt Jones ranks 16th in the BIG EAST in scoring, his lowest rank among the conference’s major statistical categories. Jones is third in assists (5.4 per game) and seventh in rebounds (7.4 per game) to go along with his 13.1 points per game. He is third in assist/TO ratio (3.3) and 12th in steals (1.2 per game). He has multiple double-doubles including both rebounds and assists this season. He had a career-high 11 assists against SIUE Nov. 28.

Senior G Kellen Dunham leads the BIG EAST and is 46th nationally in scoring despite his average “dropping” to 19.1 points per game after the team’s two games last week. He had 11 points against VMI followed by 12 versus Tennessee. He has registered double figures in all nine games this season. Kellen Dunham made all four of his free throw attempts against Tennessee to push his season mark to 38-of-40. His 95% shooting is third in the nation. Redshirt junior PG Tyler Lewis is third in the BIG EAST at 89.3%.

Photo: Butler Athletics/#17/18 Butler Bulldogs (Zach Bolinger)
Photo: Butler Athletics/#17/18 Butler Bulldogs (Zach Bolinger)
Butler made a season-high 10 three-pointers in each of its games last week (against VMI and Tennessee). The Bulldogs’ 37.3% from behind the arc is third in the BIG EAST. Butler has made 66 treys on the season with Kellen Dunham accounting for 26 of those. His 2.89 threes per game lead the BIG EAST and are just outside the top 50 nationally.

Butler leads the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (51.4%). Butler also has three players among the conference’s top 11 in the individual statistic. Sophomore F Tyler Wideman (5th), Kelan Martin (7th), and junior F Andrew Chrabascz (11th) each shoot better than 50% so far this season.

Butler is second nationally in scoring at 91.7 points per game. The Bulldogs trail only The Citadel, which averages 93.6 ppg. Butler held The Citadel to a season-low in a 144-71 win to open the season. Butler has reached 90 points in four games and shot better than 50% in five of its nine contests so far this season. Five Bulldogs average at least 10.0 points per game on the season. Of the 12 players who have seen action this season, eight have scored double figures in at least one contest.

Offensively, Butler is among the national leaders in a variety of categories so far this season. (These statistics are through the games of Sunday, Dec. 13). The Bulldogs are

Second in Scoring Offense (91.7 points per game)
Seventh in Field Goal Percentage (.514)
14th in Fewest Turnovers (10.1 per game)
14th in Assist/Turnover Ratio (1.66)
15th in Scoring Margin (+18.8 per game)

Despite losing the BIG EAST’s leading rebounder from a season ago, Kameron Woods, to graduation, Butler ranks second in the BIG EAST in rebounding margin. The Bulldogs have out-rebounded seven of its nine opponents on the season.

Butler is 5-0 at Hinkle Fieldhouse so far this season, hitting 56% of its shot attempts. The Bulldogs are averaging 101 points per home contest, led by Kellen Dunham (19.6) and Kelan Martin (17.0). Butler has scored at least 85 points in all five games. Saturday’s game against Tennessee was the first home game where the Bulldogs did not shoot at least 50% (46.8%)

Butler leads the BIG EAST in scoring, scoring margin and field goal percentage, while the Bulldogs are second in free throw percentage, rebounding margin, offensive rebounding percentage, and assist/turnover ratio.

Butler open its season at 8-1 for the second consecutive year. Prior to 2014-15, the Bulldogs had not opened 8-1 since the 2008-09 season when the team opened 19-1.

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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