GAME 24: #10 Seed Butler (9-14, 8-12 BIG EAST) vs. #7 Seed Xavier (13-7, 6-7 BIG EAST)
Wednesday, March 10; 6PM — BIG EAST Tournament First Round
Madison Square Garden; New York, N.Y.
TV: FS1 – Tim Brando & Bill Raftery
Radio: 107.5FM/93.5FM/1070AM – @MarkMinner & Nick Gardner (@n_gardner)
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@ButlerMBB | #ButlerWay | ButlerSports.com
Full Notes (PDF)
The Bulldogs open the 2021 BIG EAST Tournament Wednesday night in New York City with a first round match-up against Xavier.
• Bryce Nze (ankle) and Bo Hodges (calf) are both questionable for Wednesday’s game.
• Aaron Thompson will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury sustained vs. Marquette Feb. 17.
• Butler and Creighton were the only two BIG EAST teams to play all 20 conference games this season.
• Chuck Harris was a unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team.
• Harris scored a career-high 29 points in Saturday’s loss to Creighton.
• Bryce Golden matched his career-high with 19 points at Creighton.
• Harris is averaging 17.0 points per game since Feb. 1, and 19.6 points per game over his last five outings.
• Nze has posted five double-doubles this season.
• Butler is allowing only 67.8 points per game in conference play, which is third in the BIG EAST.
• Butler owns top 10 wins over Creighton and Villanova this season.
• Butler is 8-4 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season.
• Freshmen have scored 36 percent of Butler’s points so far this season.
• Nze is fourth in the BIG EAST at 8.0 rebounds per game.
• Harris leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 12.8 points per game; he has five 20-point games.
• Butler has committed single-digit turnovers in eight games this season, including the team’s most recent game at Creighton.
• 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 (.836) and 11th in three-point percentage (.393).
• Jair Bolden is fifth in the BIG EAST at 2.5 three-pointers per game.
• The 52 points scored by Seton Hall Feb. 24 are a season-low for a Butler opponent.
• Golden recorded his first career double-double Feb. 21 at Xavier, including a career-best 12 rebounds.
Xavier Leads, 43-23
Streak: Xavier, W2
On Neutral Court: Xavier Leads, 4-1
BIG EAST Tournament: Xavier Leads, 2-0
LaVall Jordan (at BU) vs. Xavier: 3-5
First Meeting: Xavier, 28-26; 1/16/37 (at XU)
Last Meeting: Xavier, 63-51; 2/21/21 (at XU)
ROOKIE RECOGNITION: Butler’s Chuck Harris was a unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team, which was announced by the league office Sunday, March 7. The conference released the All-BIG EAST First and Second Teams, Honorable Mention and All-Freshman Team. The league’s head coaches choose the all-conference squads and are not permitted to vote for their own players.
Averaging 12.8 points per game, Harris leads the Bulldogs and is 16th in the BIG EAST in scoring. Among freshmen, only Marquette’s Dawson Garcia (13.2) has a higher scoring average. Harris is also third in the conference in free throw percentage (.836), tenth in three-pointers made (2.0 per game), and 11th in three-point shooting (.393). He has five 20-point games so far during his rookie campaign, including a career-high 29 points at Creighton Saturday in the regular season finale.
Harris was one of three unanimous picks for the All-BIG EAST Freshman Team, joining Posh Alexander of St. John’s and Marquette’s Garcia. The other All-Freshman Team selections are Adama Sanogo of Connecticut and Colby Jones of Xavier.
Harris earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors twice throughout the regular season (Dec. 28, 2020; March 1, 2021).
Harris becomes the third Bulldog to earn a spot on the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team since Butler joined the BIG EAST prior to the 2013-14 season. Kamar Baldwin was also a unanimous selection in 2016-17 and Andrew Chrabascz earned a spot on the 2013-14 team.
FIRST TIME(S) AROUND: Xavier took both regular season match-ups with the Bulldogs.
In the most recent game in Cincinnati Feb. 21, Xavier came away with a 63-51 decision. The teams combined to go 8-for-50 from three-point range. Butler played without Aaron Thompson, Bryce Nze and Bo Hodges. Freshman Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with 14 points, while Bryce Golden posted his first career double-double.
The Bulldogs trailed by only two at halftime, but shot only 6-of-32 from the field (19 percent) in the second half as Xavier posted the win. Zach Freemantle led Xavier with 17 points.
Nearly half of Xavier’s points came from behind the three-point line as the Musketeers took a 68-55 win over Butler Jan. 30 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Paul Scruggs had a game-high 24 points and Xavier went 10-of-20 from three-point range.
Xavier extended a 12-point halftime advantage to a 47-27 margin with 15:30 remaining. Butler responded with 13 straight points to cut the deficit to seven on Bo Hodges’ putback with 11:12 to play.
Nze had his second double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He went 7-of-10 from the field. Aaron Thompson added 10 points. Butler shot only 34 percent from the field, including 5-of-25 from three-point range.
Xavier hit 51 percent of their shots, including the 10 three-pointers. Adam Kunkel (15) and Nate Johnson (14) joined Scruggs in double figures. Those three combined to go 9-of-11 from behind the arc.
TOP 10 WIN: Butler defeated No. 8 Villanova, 73-61, Feb. 28 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. Fifteen of Chuck Harris’s 20 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.
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 fourth in the BIG EAST in rebounding at 8.0 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 11.5 turnovers per game. Butler had only six turnovers against Xavier Jan. 30, one of the team’s eight 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 56 of the 126 games that LaVall Jordan has been head coach at Butler.