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No. 18/21 Butler Bulldogs Host VMI at Hinkle Fieldhouse

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #18/21 Butler Bulldogs return to action on Monday night for their third game in six days with a contest against the VMI Keydets. The match-up at Hinkle Fieldhouse begins at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs are 6-1 on the season and are ranked #18 in the AP Poll and #21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll following the new polls released on Monday afternoon. VMI is 3-4 on the season. The game will be televised on FSN with Vince Welch and Nick Bahe 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.

This is the first meeting between the Bulldogs and VMI. However, as the coach at Gardner-Webb, Chris Holtmann played VMI five times, winning two of those contests. Those games were against Duggar Baucom, who is now at The Citadel (which Butler played in the season opener) after serving as the coach of VMI for eight seasons. VMI is now coached by Dan Earl in his first season.

Last time out for Butler, A career-high 24 points from sophomore G Kelan Martin to go along with 19 apiece from senior G Kellen Dunham and junior F Andrew Chrabascz fueled Butler in an 85-71 win over Indiana State on Saturday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Butler’s 24 made free throws against Indiana State tied its season-high (against The Citadel, Nov. 14, 2015). The Bulldogs shot 77.4% from the free throw line, its second-best performance of the season (84% vs. Temple, Nov. 20, 2015).

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann (Zach Bolinger)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann (Zach Bolinger)

The three players in double figures for Butler against Indiana State is not the norm. The Bulldogs had a season-low two players in double figures against Miami. Three Butler players had 10+ points against Missouri State. But, on the season, Butler has five players averaging at least 10 points. Butler had a season-high seven players in double figures against The Citadel and five players in double figures in back-to-back contests against SIUE and Cincinnati prior to the Indiana State game. Kelan Martin (24), Kellen Dunham (19) and Andrew Chrabascz (19) each posted big numbers in the game against Indiana State. The 62 points by three players were the most points by a Butler trio since Kellen Dunham (32), Khyle Marshall (30) and Kameron Woods (7) combined for 69 points against Washington State on Nov. 28, 2013.

Sophomore G Kelan Martin had a career-best 24 points in Saturday’s win over Indiana State. Martin did so on an efficient 10-of-14 (71.4%) shooting in a career-high 29 minutes of action. He also added five rebounds and four steals. The four steals were also a career-best. Martin’s previous career-high came in his third collegiate contest — 23 points vs. Loyola (Md.) Nov. 22, 2014.

Senior G Kellen Dunham made six of his seven free throw attempts against Indiana State, pushing his season mark to 34-of-36. That 94.4% ranks eighth nationally among those who have attempted the qualifying number. The figure also leads the BIG EAST.

Redshirt senior G/F Roosevelt Jones is fourth in the BIG EAST in assists (5.1 per game) and fifth in rebounds (8.0 per game) to go along with his 11.9 points per game. He has three double-doubles through Butler’s first seven games (two that include rebounds and one that includes assists). He had a career-high 11 assists against SIUE Nov. 28.

Butler is second nationally in scoring at 91.1 points per game. The Bulldogs trail only The Citadel, which averages 94.1 ppg. Butler defeated The Citadel, 144-71, to open the season.

Butler is 3-0 at Hinkle Fieldhouse so far this season, hitting 60% of their shot attempts. Kellen Dunham is averaging 25.0 points per game in the Fieldhouse in those three games.

Offensively, Butler is among the national leaders in a variety of categories so far this season. (These statistics are through the games of Saturday, Dec. 5). The Bulldogs are:

Second in Scoring Offense (91.1 points per game)

Ninth in Field Goal Percentage (51.6%) Ninth in Fewest Turnovers (9.6 per game)

12th in Assist/Turnover Ratio (1.69)

19th in Scoring Margin (+19.1 per game)

Butler leads the BIG EAST in scoring and field goal percentage, while the Bulldogs are second in scoring margin, three-point field goal percentage defense, rebounding margin, and assist/turnover ratio. Four Bulldogs are ranked among the top 30 scorers in the BIG EAST, with sophomore F Tyler Wideman (10.7) just outside that group.

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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