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No. 18/24 Butler Bulldogs Travel to Face No. 16/17 Providence

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The #18/24 Butler Bulldogs take to the road for a Tuesday BIG EAST Conference match-up against the #16/17 Providence Friars at 6:30 PM. It is the second of two regular season contests between the two schools, who opened conference play with a New Year’s Eve game. Butler is sporting a 13-4 (2-3 BIG EAST) record while the Friars enter at 15-3 (3-2). Gus Johnson and Donny Marshall have the call on Fox Sports 1.

Butler and Providence meet for the sixth time in series history and all have occurred since Butler joined the BIG EAST for the 2013-14 season. Providence holds a 4-1 advantage. The Friars won the New Year’s Eve match-up at Hinkle, 81-73, after the teams split the series in 2014-15 (with each winning on the road). Providence made nine of 12 three-point attempts in the second half to post an 81-73 win over Butler Dec 31 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. A sold-out crowd of 9,100 witnessed just the second match-up in Hinkle Fieldhouse history featuring Top 15 teams. Providence out-scored the home team, 56-37, in the second half.

On an emotional day at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler honored the life and legacy of Andrew Smith with a pregame tribute and then dispatched visiting St. John’s, 78-58, Saturday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Senior G Kellen Dunham had 24 points to lead Butler, which also got a double-double from sophomore G Kelan Martin. It was Butler’s first game with two players scoring at least 20 points since the Tennessee game on Dec. 12, a stretch of eight games. Those are the only two times this season that two Bulldogs have scored at least 20 in the same game. Uncharacteristically, Butler committed more turnovers than its opponent and had more turnovers than assists in Saturday’s win over St. John’s. It was just the fourth time this season that either of those statistics had occurred.

Including a 4-of-7 performance against St. John’s, Kellen Dunham is 13-of-22 from behind the arc over his past four games. That is a 59% clip from three-point range, one of the best four-game stretches of his career. That comes on the heels of the four-game stretch prior where Dunham went 0-of-21 from deep. Dunham hit his 250th career three-pointer in the game against St. John’s. For his career, Dunham is a .368 shooter from three-point range. In BIG EAST games, Dunham’s .481 three-point percentages ranks second in the conference.

Kellen Dunham tied a career-high with 10 made free throws Saturday against St. John’s. He did that on 11 attempts. For the season, Dunham is hitting 90% of his free throws, which is eighth in the country and second in the BIG EAST. Dunham’s 401 career made free throws rank sixth in Butler history.

Kelan Martin registered his third double-double of the season and his career Saturday with 22 points and 10 rebounds against St. John’s. Martin shot an efficient 9-of-16 (56.3%) from the field in 31 minutes of play. The 31 minutes tied a career-high. Martin also had double-doubles in the season-opener against The Citadel and against Tennessee on Dec. 12. Saturday’s performance was Martin’s fifth 20-point scoring game of the season and the sixth of his career.

Redshirt senior G/F Roosevelt Jones scored a season-low five points on a season-low five field goal attempts in Saturday’s win over St. John’s. However, the senior added eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in 33 minutes.
The versatility of Jones is evidenced by being in the Top 11 in five BIG EAST statistical categories: second in steals (1.8), fourth in assists (4.6), sixth in assist/turnover ratio (2.2), tenth in rebounding (7.1), and 11th in scoring (14.1).
Roosevelt Jones is the only player in Butler history to rank in the Top 10 in both career rebounds and assists. Jones currently ranks sixth in career assists (388), ninth in career rebounds (716) and ninth in career steals (127). Jones is also 21st in career scoring with 1,316 career points.

Jones has six double-doubles on the season and 13 for his Butler career. Jones has posted five double-figure rebounding outputs and has twice had double-digit assists this season.

Roosevelt Jones has improved from the free throw line in each season, and his gains for 2015-16 are the largest to date. In his first three seasons, Jones shot .500, .552, and .606. Currently, he’s shooting 68 percent for the season, including 79 percent in BIG EAST play

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Bulldogs (Zach Bolinger)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Bulldogs (Zach Bolinger)

Butler has three players (Kellen Dunham, Roosevelt Jones and Kelan Martin) each averaging at least 14.0 points per game. It has been at least two decades since Butler finished a season with three players averaging at least 14 points per contest.

Redshirt junior PG Tyler Lewis has been steady at the point all season, leading the BIG EAST and ranking 11th in the nation with a 3.9 assist/turnover ratio. There have only been three games this season (in 17 contests) when Lewis has committed more than one turnover.

Sophomore F Tyler Wideman is third in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage at a .652 clip. In only one game this season (0-3 against VMI) has Wideman not shot at least 50% from the field. Wideman has been perfect from the field on three occasions this season (8-8 vs. The Citadel, 7-7 vs. Southern Utah, and 5-5 vs. Providence).

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. 17). The Bulldogs are:
12th in Fewest Turnovers (10.0 per game)
15th in Scoring Offense (84.2 points per game)
18th in Assist/Turnover Ratio (1.55)
22nd in Turnover Margin (+3.4)
22nd in Scoring Margin (+14.2 per game)
24th in Field Goal Percentage (.488)

Butler leads the BIG EAST in scoring, field goal percentage, fewest turnovers committed, and assist/turnover ratio, while the Bulldogs are second in rebounding margin and scoring margin.

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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