Butler at Providence
When: 4:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 11, 2017
Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence
PROVIDENCE – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – No. 21 Butler will try to keep the heat on the front-runners in the Big East when it visits Providence on Saturday. The Bulldogs enter the weekend trailing first-place Villanova by two games and second-place Xavier by a half-game, but they have a win in hand against both teams and take on the Wildcats and Musketeers once more down the stretch.
An ill-timed two-game slide hurt Butler’s chances but it rebounded with a well-earned 68-65 win at Marquette on Tuesday. “I thought that our attention to detail was a little better than what it had been,” coach Chris Holtmann told reporters after his team held the high-scoring Golden Eagles to their lowest scoring total since Nov. 17. The Bulldogs showcased some of that solid defense in a 78-61 win over the Friars at home earlier this season, holding Providence to 38.6 percent shooting. That was early in a 4-9 stretch for the Friars, who are coming off a 72-70 overtime loss at Seton Hall on Wednesday.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
ABOUT BUTLER (19-5, 8-4 Big East): Holtmann had expressed a desire to get more out of his senior leaders following the two-game losing streak and several stepped up against Marquette, led by senior forward Andrew Chrabascz (21 points, 8-of-11 from the field) and graduate student Avery Woodson (17 points). “Those (older) guys demonstrated some good stuff in practice,” Holtmann told reporters. “We had some hard, physical, demanding practices and they accepted it. We knew that at some point there would be some benefits to our effort and our work.” Leading scorer Kelan Martin played only 10 minutes – none in the second half – due to what Holtmann called “an internal decision.”
ABOUT PROVIDENCE (14-11, 4-8): Eight of the Friars’ 12 Big East games have been decided by 10 points or fewer, and they are 1-4 in the last five such contests. “This is the fourth game that we’ve lost in our league basically with a minute to play,” coach Ed Cooley told the media after Wednesday’s loss. “Our youth shows, our inexperience in the moment shows. We’ve got to try to complete plays.” Leading scorer Rodney Bullock (17.0) snapped out of a slight slump with 19 points in the setback but he is just 9-for-30 from the floor in a three-game span for the Big East’s worst offense (69.8).
1. Friars PG Kyron Cartwright had a career-high 26 points in the loss to the Bulldogs last month.
2. Butler G Tyler Lewis is 6-for-8 from 3-point range over the past five games.
3. Providence has won six of eight meetings.