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No. 18/19 Butler Bulldogs Seek First BIG EAST Win against DePaul on the Road

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #18/19 Butler Bulldogs travel to face the DePaul Blue Demons for their fourth game in nine days with a Tuesday night BIG EAST Conference contest. Both teams have started BIG EAST play at 0-2. Butler is 11-3 overall and is ranked #18 and #19 in this week’s national polls. DePaul is 6-8 on the season. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Chicago/Central) and will be televised on FSN affiliates throughout the country including FOX Sports Midwest in Indiana. Jeff Levering and Stephen Bardo are on the call. Mark Minner and Nick Gardner can be heard on 1070 AM and 93.5 FM as well as the TuneIn Radio App.

Butler and DePaul are recent BIG EAST rivals, with the Bulldogs taking three of four contests (including the last three) in BIG EAST match-ups. The teams had met previously and DePaul owns a 6-4 record in the overall series. Butler won the first match-up between the two schools, a 39-29 contest, during the 1938-39 season.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Jordan Gathers (Zach Bolinger)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Jordan Gathers (Zach Bolinger)

Last time out for the Bulldogs, Xavier shot 56% from the field to down visiting Butler, 88-69, Saturday afternoon at the Cintas Center. The #6 Musketeers utilized five players in double figures. Redshirt senior G/F Roosevelt Jones led Butler with 14 points and six assists for Butler. A late 9-2 run in the first half gave Xavier a 45-35 halftime advantage, but the Bulldogs chipped away at that lead early in the half. A three-pointer by senior G Kellen Dunham with 12:29 to play cut Xavier’s led to just three at 55-52, but the home team would respond with 13 of the next 14 points over the next five minutes to push the lead to 68-53. Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann adjusted the starting line-up for the first time this season Saturday at Xavier. Graduate transfer F Austin Etherington and graduate transfer G Jordan Gathers, along with sophomore G Kelan Martin, got their first starts in a Butler uniform. Etherington (six games at Indiana) and Gathers (25 games at St. Bonaventure) have previous starting experience. Gathers and Etherington join Tyler Lewis (North Carolina State) as players on this year’s roster who have started for both Butler and another university.

Senior G Kellen Dunham went 3-of-5 from three-point range Saturday at Xavier off the Butler bench. It ended a 0-of-23 stretch from behind the arc that stretched back to his last two attempts in the Tennessee game. Dunham ranks third on Butler’s career three-pointers made list with 241. He is a career 36% shooter from long range, including a 41.0% clip last season.

Kellen Dunham is fourth nationally with a 92.5% clip at the free throw line. He is 49-of-52 on the season.

In four career match-ups with DePaul, Kellen Dunham is averaging 21 points per game. That includes 30 points and six three-pointers against the Blue Demons Jan. 9, 2014. Roosevelt Jones has faced DePaul twice, averaging 18 points per game.

Redshirt senior G/F Roosevelt Jones has moved into tenth place on Butler’s career rebounds list with 699. He is currently sixth in Butler career assists with 380 in his 3.5 seasons as a Bulldog. Jones is the only Butler player to appear in the Top 10 lists of both categories. He is four steals away from cracking Butler’s top 10 list in that statistic. Jones is also 22nd in career scoring with 1,276 career points.

The versatility of Jones is evidenced with his BIG EAST rankings: third in assists (5.0), fifth in steals (1.5), ninth in rebounding (7.4), and 12th in scoring (14.2).

Redshirt junior PG Tyler Lewis has 24 assists against only three turnovers in his last five games. That stretch includes eight assists against Southern Utah and seven against IUPUI to close non-conference play. Lewis is tenth in the nation and leads the BIG EAST in assist/turnover ratio (4.1).

Graduate transfer G Jordan Gathers scored a season-high 11 points against Providence. The total was his best performance in a Butler uniform. Gathers went 3-of-3 from behind the arc, adding four rebounds and two assists. Gathers ranks second in the BIG EAST in three-point percentage at 48.5%.

For the sixth time this season, five Bulldogs scored in double figures at Xavier Saturday afternoon. Four Bulldogs average double figures on the season (Dunham, Martin, Jones, and Chrabascz) with sophomore F Tyler Wideman (9.4) and redshirt junior PG Tyler Lewis (8.4) just off the pace. Seven Bulldogs had 10+ in the season-opening win over The Citadel, while five Bulldogs reached double figures against Cincinnati, SIUE, VMI, Tennessee, and Xavier. Of the 12 players who have seen action this season, eight have scored double figures in at least one contest.

Butler ranks fourth nationally in turnovers per game (9.6) and tenth in the country in assist/turnover ratio (1.69). Butler committed only six turnovers against Providence, just one off its season-low five against Temple in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Butler has committed 10 or fewer turnovers in eight games this season.

Offensively, Butler is among the national leaders in a variety of categories so far this season. (These statistics are through the games of Sunday, Jan. 3). The Bulldogs are:

Fifth in Scoring Offense (87.2 points per game)
Fourth in Fewest Turnovers (9.6 per game)
10th in Assist/Turnover Ratio (1.69)
20th in Field Goal Percentage (.496)
15th in Scoring Margin (+15.9 per game)
39th in Rebound Margin (+6.6 per game)

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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