INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #18/18 Butler Bulldogs (6-0), fresh off a Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational championship, will stay out west as they travel to Salt Lake City to face the Utah Utes (4-0) on Monday, November 28. The game with Utah is the first half of a home-and-home series that will bring the Pac-12 opponent to Hinkle Fieldhouse next season. Tip at the Huntsman Center is scheduled for 9:00 PM ET (7:00 PM Mountain) and will air on Pac-12 Network with Ted Robinson, Don MacLean and Cindy Brunson.
Butler and Utah have met twice in the all-time series with each team taking a win. The Bulldogs won the most recent match-up in the opening round of the 2010 Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. Utah won in Salt Lake City in 1964. Including Friday’s win over Arizona, Butler is now 12-11 all-time against current members of the Pac-12. The Bulldogs have played eight of the 12 teams.
Utah picked up an 85-67 non-conference win over UC Riverside at the Huntsman Center this past Friday. Senior G Lorenzo Bonam and freshman G Devon Daniels notched their first career double-doubles in the win. Utah leads the nation in five different NCAA statistical categories, which includes defensive rebounding (40.25/game), total rebounds (53.75/game), rebound margin (+20.3), scoring margin (+37.0) and field goal percentage-defense (.277). The Utes rank second nationally in scoring defense, having given up just 52.0 points per game to opposing teams. Utah is 15-15 all-time when facing opponents from the Big East Conference.
Butler’s last trip to Salt Lake City was highlighted by the Bulldogs earning the first Final Four berth in program history. As part of the run to the 2010 National Championship Game in Indianapolis, the Bulldogs won Sweet 16 (63-59 over Syracuse) and Elite Eight (63-56 over Kansas State) contests in Salt Lake City. Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack, currently on the Utah Jazz, were on that 2009-10 Butler team. Mack was also on the 2010-11 team that defeated Utah as part of the Diamond Head Classic.
Butler captured the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational with a 69-65 win over #8/9 Arizona Friday night. That came on the heels of a 76-66 win over Vanderbilt in the semifinals. This was the fourth in-season tournament title for the Bulldogs since 2006 (2006 NIT Season Tip-Off, 2007 Great Alaska Shootout, 2010 Diamond Head Classic, and the 2016 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational). Butler’s 2-0 performance in Las Vegas included Most Outstanding Player honors for senior F Andrew Chrabascz, while junior F Kelan Martin and freshman G Kamar Baldwin joined him on the All-Tournament Team.
The Bulldogs made 17 of its 21 free throw attempts against Arizona, highlighted by a combined 12-of-15 performance from Andrew Chrabascz and Kamar Baldwin. The team percentage was a season-high for the Bulldogs, who are hitting at a .704 clip at the charity stripe.
Senior F Andrew Chrabascz picked up his second career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds Thursday against Vanderbilt. The 10 rebounds tied his career-high. Chrabascz followed that up with 14 points and seven rebounds in the win over Arizona.
Redshirt senior PG Tyler Lewis had a combined 10 assists in the two games in Las Vegas. His 5.3 assists average this season is third in the BIG EAST and just outside the Top 50 nationally. He also led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points against Vanderbilt Thursday. He has led the team in assists in five of six games this season. Lewis owns a 3.2 career Assist/Turnover ratio, which jumps to 3.5 in his two seasons at Butler.
Junior F Kelan Martin led Butler in scoring with 16 points against Arizona. It was his third time this season pacing the Bulldogs. He has also scored in double figures in all six games this season (43 times in his career).
Freshman G Kamar Baldwin posted a career-high 12 points in Thursday’s win over Vanderbilt. He is shooting 60 percent from the field, 55 percent from three-point range, and 86 percent from the free throw line over his first six games. His 10.0 points per game average is tied for third on the team. Baldwin has scored in double figures in five of his first six collegiate games.
Four of Butler’s rotation – Sophomore F/C Nate Fowler, junior F Tyler Wideman, Tyler Lewis, and Kamar Baldwin – are each shooting 60 percent or better from the field so far this season.
The Bulldogs have shot at least 53 percent in three of its six contests so far this season, including a season-best 62 percent against Bucknell. Butler is now 21-0 under Head Coach Chris Holtmann when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
Butler took a lead into the half against both Vanderbilt and Arizona, and ended up scoring the win. That has been a typical occurrence under Chris Holtmann as the Bulldogs are 45-7 when leading at the half during his time on the Butler sidelines.
Butler coach Chris Holtmann is 30-6 at Hinkle Fieldhouse as head coach of the Bulldogs.
Butler has committed only 10.8 turnovers per game through its six four contests of the season. The Bulldogs are ranked among the national leaders in fewest turnovers committed (20th) and turnover margin (+6.0, which is 13th in the NCAA).
While Butler’s 80.2 points per game is impressive, the Bulldogs have also been doing a nice job on defense, allowing just 61.0 points per game so far in the young season. That mark is second in the BIG EAST and 24th nationally.
Butler’s +19.2 scoring margin is 24th nationally and leads the BIG EAST.
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.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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