Saturday, March 6; 4PM CT
CHI Health Center; Omaha, Neb.
TV: FOX – Kevin Kugler & Nick Bahe
Radio: 107.5FM/93.5FM/1070AM – @MarkMinner & Nick Gardner (@n_gardner)
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@BUTLERMBB | #BUTLERWAY | BUTLERSPORTS.COM
The Bulldogs close out the regular season Saturday afternoon in Omaha with a match-up against No. 14 Creighton.
• Aaron Thompson will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury sustained vs. Marquette Feb. 17.
• Butler and Creighton are slated to be the only two BIG EAST teams to play all 20 conference games this season.
• Chuck Harris was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week Monday, his second recognition this season.
• Bryce Nze has posted back-to-back double-doubles (and five this season).
• Butler’s last four opponents have combined to shoot 15-of-91 (16.5 percent) from three-point range.
• Butler is allowing only 66.4 points per game in conference play, which is second in the BIG EAST.
• Butler shot 50 percent from the field vs. Villanova Sunday, matching the Bulldogs’ season-high.
• Butler is 8-4 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.
• Freshmen have scored 35 percent of Butler’s points so far this season.
• Nze is third in the BIG EAST at 8.2 rebounds per game.
• Harris leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 12.0 points per game; he has four 20-point games.
• Butler has committed single-digit turnovers in seven games this season.
• Eight different Bulldogs have led the team in scoring this season; five different Bulldogs have posted 20-point games.
• Harris ranks third in the BIG EAST in free throw percentage (.833) and 11th in three-point percentage (.394).
• Bolden is fourth in the BIG EAST at 2.6 three-pointers per game.
• The 52 points scored by Seton Hall Feb. 24 are a season-low for a Butler opponent.
• Bryce Golden recorded his first career double-double Sunday at Xavier, including a career-best 12 rebounds.
• Butler’s 76-73 overtime win over St. John’s Feb. 9 included overcoming a 16-point deficit.
• Myles Tate posted his first career double-double (15p/10r) vs. Creighton Jan. 16.
THE SERIES: Butler and Creighton will meet for the 23rd time with Saturday’s match-up. Creighton holds a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series that dates back to 1933. Including a Jan. 16 Butler win at Hinkle, the home team has won the last seven meetings between the two teams.
Creighton Leads, 12-10
Streak: Butler, W1
At Creighton: Creighton Leads, 8-2
LaVall Jordan (at BU) vs. Creighton: 4-3
First Meeting: Creighton, 27-22; 1/30/33 (at CU)
Last Meeting: Butler, 70-66 (OT); 1/16/21 (at Hinkle)
TOURNAMENT IMPLICATIONS: BIG EAST regular season play concludes with five games Saturday. There are a number scenarios in play, with the Bulldogs potentially finishing as high as the No. 7 seed and as low as the No. 10 seed in next week’s BIG EAST Tournament. That means that Butler is assured of playing in either the 7/10 or the 8/9 game Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. Based on Saturday’s results, Butler’s opening-round opponent will come from a group that includes Xavier, St. John’s, Georgetown, Providence and Marquette.
FIRST TIME AROUND: Butler overcame a 13-point deficit with less than eight minutes to play, pulling out a gritty 70-66 overtime win over No. 8 Creighton Jan. 16 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Creighton unleashed a 26-3 run early in the second half to erase a seven-point Butler halftime lead and ultimately take a 51-38 advantage with 11:28 to play. At that point in the second half, Butler was 1-of-14 from the field, while the Bluejays hit 11 of their first 13 attempts. A Denzel Mahoney free throw had the CU advantage at 13 again (58-45) with 7:38 to play. Butler closed regulation on a 17-4 run to send the game to overtime.
Aaron Thompson led four Bulldogs in double figures with 17 points. Myles Tate posted the first double-double of his career with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mahoney led the Bluejays with 29 points.
LAST TIME OUT: Butler defeated No. 8 Villanova, 73-61, Sunday at Hinkle Fieldhouse in the Bulldogs’ Senior Day. Sunday was Butler’s second Top 10 win of the season; the Bulldogs also defeated No. 8/6 Creighton on Jan. 16.
Butler limited Villanova to 2-of-27 shooting from three-point range in the game, while the Bulldogs hit 10 of their 24 attempts. Freshman Chuck Harris had a game-high 20 points, his fourth 20-point game of the season. Fifteen of Harris’s points came in the first half. Senior Bryce Nze posted his fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Nze tied a career-high with five assists.
After a 9-0 Villanova run cut Butler’s lead to 42-37 with 14:14 to play, Butler responded with a 12-2 spurt to take its largest lead of the game (54-39) at the 10:40 mark. Villanova got no closer than seven the rest of the way.
TWO HONORS FOR THE FIRST-YEAR GUY: For the second time in his Butler career, Chuck Harris earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors, as announced on Monday.
For the week, he averaged 17.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, shooting 50 percent from the field.
Harris is only the third Bulldog to earn Freshman of the Week honors since the Bulldogs joined the BIG EAST prior to the 2013-14 season. He joins Kelan Martin (final week of the 2014-15 regular season) and Kamar Baldwin (twice during the 2016-17 season) on that list. He and Baldwin are the only Bulldogs to win multiple weekly honors.
Harris leads the Bulldogs in scoring this season, averaging 12.0 points per game. Among freshmen in the BIG EAST, only Marquette’s Dawson Garcia averages more (13.2).
NEEDING EXTRA TIME: Butler’s Aaron Thompson and Bryce Nze posted double-doubles, leading the Bulldogs to a clutch 76-73 overtime win over St. John’s Feb. 9 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Thompson had 17 points, including the basket with two seconds remaining in regulation that sent the game to overtime, to go along with 10 assists. Nze had a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs overcame a 16-point deficit. Butler was able to end the Red Storm’s six-game winning streak.
Thompson and Nze are the first Bulldogs to post double-doubles in the same game since the same duo accomplished the feat Nov. 9, 2019 in a home win over New Orleans.
CALL IT A COMEBACK: Four of Butler’s nine wins have included a double-digit comeback. The Feb. 9th 16-point comeback against St. John’s is joined by three earlier ones in BIG EAST play. (12 vs. DePaul, Feb. 6; 13 vs. Creighton, Jan. 16; and 11 vs. Georgetown, Jan. 6).
The 16-point recovery against St. John’s was Butler’s biggest comeback since erasing a 20-point deficit at Georgetown Dec. 27, 2017, taking a 91-89 double-overtime win.
2 FOR 20: Bryce Nze and Chuck Harris each scored 22 points in the Feb. 6 home win over DePaul. For Nze, it set his high mark in a Butler uniform (he has a career-high of 25 points from his time at Milwaukee), while Harris tied his career-high set earlier this season against Southern Illinois. The duo combined for seven three-pointers.
Nze and Harris are the first Butler duo to score 20 points in the same game since Kamar Baldwin (30) and Jordan Tucker (24) did so against St. John’s, Jan. 19, 2019.
‘BOARD’ OUT OF HIS MIND: Redshirt senior Bryce Nze is third in the BIG EAST in rebounding at 8.2 caroms per game. Nze pulled down 14 rebounds Jan. 19 at DePaul, his second time in three outings hitting that mark (also at St. John’s Jan. 12). It is his highest total in a Butler uniform (although he had 17 in a game while playing at Milwaukee). He has eight games with 10 or more rebounds this season.
HANDLE WITH CARE: Butler averages only 11.7 turnovers per game. Butler had only six turnovers against Xavier Jan. 30, one of the team’s seven single-digit turnover outputs this season. The six turnovers matched the team’s season-low. The Bulldogs turned the ball over only seven times in 45 minutes of play in the Jan. 16 win over Creighton.
Butler has committed 10 or fewer turnovers in 55 of the 121 games that LaVall Jordan has been head coach at Butler.
INSTANT IMPACT: Bo Hodges had an appeal of a waiver for immediate eligibility approved by the NCAA prior to the Bulldogs’ Jan. 30 game with Xavier. In just his second game (and his first start) for Butler, Hodges set career-highs with 12 rebounds and eight assists to go along with 15 points, narrowly missing a triple-double Feb. 2 at Marquette.
This is only the third season since 2008-09 that three true freshmen have started a game for Butler: 2020-21 (Tate, Harris, Coles); 2011-12 (Roosevelt Jones, Kameron Woods, Jackson Aldridge); and 2008-09 (Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack, Ron Nored).