Purdue (8-2) vs. Butler (7-2)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (18,165) -- Indianapolis,
Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Purdue 7-0, Butler 5-0.
Away Record: Purdue 1-2, Butler 1-0. Neutral Record: Purdue 0-0, Butler 1-2.
Conference Record: Purdue 0-0, Butler 0-0. Series Record: Purdue leads, 37-16.
GAME NOTES: Intrastate rivals are set to tangle in the Crossroad Classic on
Saturday evening, as the Purdue Boilermakers take on the Butler Bulldogs at
Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Apart from suffering a pair of losses in the Old Spice Classic to Oklahoma
State (97-87) and Washington State (69-54), Purdue has been outstanding this
season with wins in all eight of its other matchups. The Boilermakers are
currently riding a three-game win streak, most recently downing Eastern
Michigan at home last Saturday, 69-64.
Butler's early record has nearly mirrored Purdue's, as it lost to Oklahoma
State (69-67) and LSU (70-68 in OT) in the Old Spice Classic, but has
otherwise been flawless en route to a 7-2 record. The Bulldogs enjoyed a brief
two-game homestand last week with wins over North Dakota (79-64) and
Purdue has a handle on the all-time series with Butler, 37-16, although the
Bulldogs narrowly won the most recent meeting in December of 2011, 67-65.
The Boilermakers had to fight to the final buzzer against a feisty EMU squad
last time out, but managed to hold on for the five-point win by outscoring
their opponent from the free-throw line, 23-15, and by earning extra
possessions with a 20-14 advantage in the turnover battle. Bryson Scott had an
especially busy day at stripe (10-of-13) on his way to a team-best 16 points
to go with five assists and three steals. Kendall Stephens netted 13 points
but he did so on an inefficient afternoon from beyond the arc (3-of-11). On
the season, Purdue has made a habit of causing havoc in the passing lanes with
a +2.9 turnover margin, which only accentuates its solid offensive numbers
(.456 FG percentage, 79.7 ppg). Terone Johnson is the top scoring threat with
12.8 ppg, while Ronnie Johnson (11.9 ppg) and Scott (10.4 ppg) are hot on his
heels. No one else averages in double figures, but the deep bench consists of
seven others who net at least 4.3 ppg.
The Bulldogs did what was expected of them in their 59-point thrashing of
Manchester on Monday night, as they outshot their adversary from the field,
63.3 percent to 26.4 percent, and drained 12 3-pointers in the rout. Twelve
players scored in the triple-digit effort, paced by 15 points from Kellen
Dunham. Khyle Marshall added 14 points, Rene Castro chipped in a dozen off the
bench, and Kameron Woods added 11 points on a perfect night from the field (5-
of-5). The big night certainly improved Butler's numbers at the offensive end
of the court, as it makes greater than 46 percent of its field goal attempts
for 77.0 ppg, but the biggest reason for its fast start has been the way the
team has played defense (63.7 ppg). Dunham has taken over as the go-to guy
this season, pouring in 18.7 ppg on a lofty 47.5 percent accuracy from beyond
the arc. Marshall (17.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) has also played well, and Woods (10.3
ppg, 8.9 rpg) brings added production to the paint.
With a pair of similarly-matched teams going toe-to-toe, expect a close
contest throughout. The edge goes to the defensive-minded Bulldogs.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Butler 70, Purdue 67
12/14 10:41:23 ET