Butler brings act to Sunshine State to battle Division II foe
Fort Myers, FL (Sports Network) - The 16th-ranked Butler Bulldogs have made their way to Fort Myers for a non-conference matchup with the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.
Butler is 10-1 overall and has won three straight games since its only loss, a one-point setback to Horizon League rival Wright State. The Bulldogs are coming off Wednesday's 83-64 romp over Bradley, and they have already beaten the likes of Florida State, Ohio State and Texas Tech thus far.
Florida Gulf Coast comes into this clash as a major home underdog. The Eagles are just 3-8 overall, and each of the last three games have resulted in defeat. On Monday, the Division II squad dropped an 84-62 decision to an IUPUI team that isn't nearly as good as the nationally-ranked Bulldogs.
Last season, Butler and Florida Gulf Coast met for the first time, and the Bulldogs beat the Eagles, 79-65.
Butler is scoring 69.4 ppg, a solid average, but it is the club's strong defensive play that can be credited for its 10-1 record. The Bulldogs are limiting foes to 56.5 ppg, impressive by any standards. Four players are averaging double figures in scoring for Butler, and A.J. Graves leads the group with 16.8 ppg on the strength of his 40.7 percent shooting from three-point range. Mike Green checks in with 14.5 ppg, and he has dished out 54 assists. Matt Howard adds 11.5 ppg to the mix, and Pete Campbell rounds out the foursome with 12.8 ppg in the eight games that he has played. Graves scored 21 points in the recent romp over Bradley, and Green showed his versatility by racking up 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Howard scored 14 points before fouling out, and Willie Veasley hit all five of his shots from the floor en route to 12 points.
There are a couple of obvious reasons that Florida Gulf Coast fell short against IUPUI on Monday. Not only were the Eagles outscored by 11 points at the foul line, they also permitted IUPUI to shoot 51.9 percent from the floor. Rob Quaintance and Landon Adler netted 16 points apiece for FGCU, which turned the ball over 18 times. Through 11 games this season, the Eagles are scoring 61.9 ppg on 40.1 percent shooting from the floor, and they are hitting just 59.3 percent of their free throws. Defensively, the club is allowing 71.2 ppg to the opposition on 49.3 percent shooting from the field. Adler is netting a team- high 13.6 ppg, and he is also tops with 7.7 rpg. Casey Wohlleb averages 13.3 ppg, but he is shooting less than 40 percent from the floor. As for Adam Liddell, the third and final double-digit scorer on the roster, he contributes 10.9 ppg.
12/22 10:44:11 ET