December 21, 2014

While Butler will likely drop out of the AP Top 25 on Monday, it could use another win at home that night to regain some confidence.

The No. 23 Bulldogs seek to avoid a third straight loss and extend their home non-conference win streak to 20 games as they face UT-Martin.

Butler (8-3) fell 82-73 to Indiana on Saturday, blowing a six-point lead with 13:48 left. The Bulldogs shot 39.1 percent and made only 3 of 16 3-pointers.

"We did have a couple of looks right around the basket that if a couple of those go down, it's probably a different story or at least a one-possession game," interim coach Chris Holtmann told the Bulldogs' official website. "We had some layups right around the rim that we need to finish through contact a little bit better."

Kellen Dunham scored 18 first-half points before he was limited to five on 2 of 7 shooting the rest of the way. His nine free-throw attempts all came before halftime.

''They did a great job defensively all game, but they changed some things up and went 2-3 (zone) and man and made it a little more difficult in the second half,'' Dunham said. ''It was nothing that we shouldn't be able to handle.''

Butler hasn't lost at home to a non-conference foe since falling 68-62 in overtime to Pittsburgh in the 2012 postseason NIT. The Bulldogs are 5-0 at home this season, winning by an average of 31.2 points.

The Skyhawks (7-3) insist they won't be intimidated by playing at famed Hinkle Fieldhouse, though their three defeats to Marquette, Nebraska and Illinois State have been by an average of 12.3 points. UT-Martin leads the nation with five road wins.

"We've met every challenge on the road even when we've played Nebraska and Illinois State and Marquette, we've found ways to have a chance to win," coach Heath Schroyer said. "Obviously Butler is as good as there is out there right now. They're playing great basketball, they've got great tradition, great players. We're going to have to be ready."

UT-Martin took advantage of its second home game by cruising past Presbyterian 77-60 on Saturday. Deville Smith scored 23 points and dished out nine assists for the Skyhawks, whose 58.0 percent shooting was their highest against a Division I opponent.

The Skyhawks top the Ohio Valley Conference in field-goal percentage at 49.5.

"Your percentages are going to go up when you take quality shots," Schroyer said. "And a quality shot for a certain guy is obviously different from another guy. I think that for the most part, we take pretty good shots and we have four players who can knock them down."

UT-Martin has five players who average at least 10 points, though senior forward Myles Taylor (11.1) has missed the last three games with a knee injury. Arkeem Joseph has started in his absence.

These schools have split two meetings. Butler won the most recent one, 77-48 on Dec. 18, 2000.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)