Skip to main content

IUPUI-Butler Preview

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Kellen Dunham is in his third season as Butler's top offensive option and has been known to score in bunches when he gets in a groove. He also has a reputation for being inconsistent, and he's in the midst of one of those rough patches.

This season more than ever, though, he has a solid supporting cast to pick him up during those times.

With a showdown against Providence looming later in the week, Dunham looks to snap out of his funk as the ninth-ranked Bulldogs host IUPUI in their final nonconference game Monday night.

Dunham led Butler in scoring the past two seasons with averages of 16.4 and 16.5 points, respectively, and this year is averaging a team-high 16.3. He has four 20-point games and tied his career high of 32 against SIU-Edwardsville on Nov. 28.

The senior guard began the season hot, shooting 51.5 percent from the floor and 43.6 percent from 3-point range over his first eight games, but he's cooled off dramatically. Dunham is 5 of 35 from the field and 2 of 22 from beyond the arc while totaling 19 points over his last three.

That stretch includes an 0-for-12 performance in a win over then-No. 9 Purdue on Dec. 19. Dunham isn't exactly contributing to the offense otherwise, combining for two assists and four turnovers over that span.

The positive aspect is that Butler (10-1) has won all three as part of a seven-game winning streak that began after losing to now-No. 13 Miami on Nov. 22. Four other Bulldogs are averaging in double figures to help compensate for Dunham's struggles, and North Carolina State transfer Tyler Lewis is on the cusp at 9.4 points per game.

Tyler Wideman hit all seven of his field-goal attempts and finished with 15 points in Tuesday's 88-52 rout of Southern Utah, while Roosevelt Jones added 12 and 10 rebounds. Kelan Martin finished with 12 points off the bench, and Lewis had eight of the Bulldogs' 21 assists - their most since Nov. 19.

''We still have things we need to improve on, but I'm really proud of our guys," coach Chris Holtmann said. ''Moving the ball has been our trademark so far. We need to come back from a few days off for the holidays ready to go with a good challenge waiting for us on the 28th."

Butler is averaging 89.7 points to rank second in the nation and is shooting 51.3 percent to tie for eighth. It boasts victories over the Boilermakers and then-No. 17 Cincinnati, but perhaps its toughest test awaits Thursday when it hosts No. 10 Providence to begin Big East play.

''I think we're ready for a break, but we'll be ready Monday,'' Lewis said after the Southern Utah win.

The Bulldogs shouldn't have much trouble with crosstown Indianapolis rival IUPUI (4-10), which followed its own victory over Southern Utah on Dec. 19 with an 84-48 loss at Memphis on Tuesday.

The Jaguars shot a season-worst 25.0 percent while making 1 of 12 from 3-point range and committing 18 turnovers. Darell Combs scored a team-high 15 points, but he made 4 of 14 from the field.

IUPUI scored 17 points in the first half and trailed by 22 at the break.

"We needed to get out to a good start and make some shots in order to be competitive," coach Jason Gardner told the team's official website. "We just came out really flat and with not enough energy."

Butler has won all four meetings with IUPUI, the last being in 2012 when Dunham scored 17 off the bench as a freshman.