North Dakota (2-4) at Butler (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hinkle Fieldhouse (10,000) -- Indianapolis, Indiana. Television: FS1. Home Record: UND 2-0, BU 3-0. Away Record: UND 0-2, BU 1-0. Neutral Record: UND 0-2, BU 1-2. Conference Record: UND 0-0, BU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: North Dakota will face a Big East Conference opponent for the first time ever on Saturday night when it take on the Butler Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
North Dakota continues a stretch of five straight games away from home after dropping all three contests in last weekend's Global Sports Hardwood Classic in Eugene, Oregon. The latest of those games was a 93-76 setback at the hands of Pacific on Sunday.
Butler jumped out to a 5-0 start under first-year coach Brandon Miller but has since dropped two straight, both by two points. The Bulldogs lost to fifth- ranked Oklahoma State last Friday in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Florida, and then fell to LSU in overtime on Sunday. Still, they have won all three games so far this season at Hinkle Fieldhouse, where they have emerged victorious in 22 of their last 25 tries.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
UND surprised a one-loss Pacific team by taking a 48-45 halftime lead in Sunday's matchup. However, the Tigers went on to shoot a sizzling 62.1 percent from the floor in the second half, while UND made only 34.6 percent of its shots over the final 20 minutes. North Dakota struggled mightily from the perimeter, draining only 6-of-27 attempts (.222) for the game. Troy Huff led all scorers with 21 points to go along with eight rebounds and four steals in the loss. Jamal Web chipped in with 16 points, and fellow guard Aaron Anderson scored 11. UND has had very little trouble putting up points this season, averaging a healthy 80.8 ppg behind 46-percent shooting from the floor. However, opponents are shooting 51.3 percent and are putting up 83.8 ppg. Huff leads the Big Sky Conference in scoring (23.2 ppg) and is tied for fifth in rebounding (8.0 rpg).
The Bulldogs failed to close out Sunday's contest as they gave up a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, where LSU eventually won it. Butler enjoyed a 48-36 rebounding advantage for the game, including 18-9 on the offensive glass, but the Bulldogs were simply unable to overcome a dismal 33.8-percent shooting effort from the floor. Kellen Dunham led all scorers with 20 points, Khyle Marshall had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Kameron Woods posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. Dunham, who scored a career-high 32 points in an opening-round win over Washington State, was named to the Old Spice Classic all-tournament team. He is averaging a team-best 17.7 ppg in his sophomore campaign. Marshall is not far behind with 16.9 ppg to go along with 7.1 rebounds per tilt.
Butler has hit a bump in the road with two straight losses. After letting Sunday's game slip away late, look for the Bulldogs to bounce back with a full 48 minutes of focused basketball.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Butler 88, North Dakota 78
12/07 10:35:49 ET