INDIANAPOLIS (IN) - Butler (9-2) hosts NJIT in their final non-conference game of the year at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday. InsideTheDawgPound takes a look at what to expect.
Know Your Foe
Record - 6-8
Coach - Marty Simmons - 5th Season, 63-103
Mascot - Highlanders
Conference - Independent
Enrollment - 10,000
Tale of the Tape
The Bulldogs are riding a four game winning streak, with their latest coming on the road at Evansville. Butler defeated the Purple Aces 68-59 led by 16 points and 8 rebounds from junior point guard Alex Barlow and sophomore guard Kellen Dunham with 15 points (3/7 3PT). New head coach Brandon Miller has led Butler to a 9-2 record in his first season at the helm. Butler is led by Kellen Dunham who currently averages 18.9 points per game and Khyle Marshall at 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds. NJIT was gotten off to a 6-8 start under Jim Engles in his 5th season. The Highlanders have lost four in a row including a 77-65 loss to St. Francis (NY). Sophomore forward Terrance Smith led NJIT with 18 points, while freshman guard Damon Lynn added 13. On the season, the Highlanders are led by Lynn who averages 16.6 points and 2.4 assists per game, while Terrance Smith averages 13.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Players to Watch
Elijah Brown - With the weaker opponent entering Hinkle Field house Brown is sure to see a lot of playing time. Therefore it is crucial for Butler to get some good minutes from Brown and get him ramped up for Big East Player. The freshman currently averages 7.2 points per game. Look for Brown to double his production against NJIT.
Kameron Woods - Woods will be hunting another double-double against NJIT. The talented junior forward is averaging 9.6 points and 9.5 rebounds on the year. His rebounding totals for the year leads the Big East. Woods will be an extremely tough matchup for the Highlanders and look for his fourth double-double of the season.
Kellen Dunham - Another game, another day to watch the scorer that Dunham has become. The sophomore is averaging a team-high 18.9 points per game and can score in a variety of ways, which should be on display once again. Dunham has led Butler in scoring 11 times this season.
Damon Lynn - The 5-foot 11 guard is currently the Highlanders leading scorer at 16.6 points per game. The freshman from Hillside, NJ has scored in double figures in his last 9 games including over 20 points in 5 of those games. Lynn loves to shoot the three, where he averages almost 9 attempts per game, connecting on 37.4%.
Terrance Smith - The lengthy 6-foot 6 forward is averaging 13.4 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game this season for the Highlanders. The sophomore has had back to back double-doubles against St. Francis (NY) and Holy Cross. Smith loves to get into the paint and finish and is shooting an impressive 57.6% from the field.
Ky Howard - The sophomore guard from Philadelphia, PA is averaging a team-high 3.8 assists per game. He also averages 9.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Howard is a pass-first point guard who doesn't look for his shot too often as he averages just 6 field goal attempts per game.
Keys to the Game
Three Point Shooting - NJIT loves to shoot the long-ball. The Highlanders are averaging nearly 20 three point attempts per game. What is concerning for Butler is that NJIT has connected on 39.5% of their 253 attempts this year. Eight NJIT players are shooting above 33.3%. Butler needs to play solid defense and force the Highlanders to put the ball on the floor.
Size Advantage - Butler rarely has a size advantage, but will have one on Saturday. The Bulldogs front line will have a distinct advantage and they need to take advantage. Kameron Woods should have a big day rebounding and Khyle Marshall could use his quickness to create mismatches.
Hostile Environment - It is the final opportunity for Butler fans to see the Bulldogs outside of the Big East. NJIT is a very young team. The Highlanders have 11 underclassmen on their roster. The environment inside of Hinkle Fieldhouse could be a little subdued with the school on Christmas Break. If there are enough fans inside Hinkle creating noise, NJIT could get rattled.
9.5 - Kameron Woods average for rebounding on the season, which leads the Big East.
10.2 - Turnovers per game for Butler, which leads the Big East and ranks 24th nationally.
49 - Khyle Marshall has scored in double figures this many times in his Butler career.
8 of 11 - The amount of times Butler has outscored their opponents in the 2nd half this season.
75.4 - Big East leading rebounding percentage for Butler.
231-34 - Butler's record at Hinkle Fieldhouse since 1995-96.