Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - The 22nd-ranked Butler Bulldogs put a four-game win streak on the line as they get set to host the DePaul Blue Demons in a Big East Conference clash at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Butler has won four straight contests, and six of its last seven altogether. The Bulldogs took on St. John's on Tuesday, and absolutely demolished the Red Storm at home, 85-62, to improve to 7-3 in conference play. Butler is a convincing 11-1 on its home court this season.
DePaul put a stop to a three-game losing streak on Tuesday with a 75-62 victory over Seton Hall - the team's second win over the Pirates in 2014-15. The win bumped the Blue Demons back up to .500 at 12-12 on the season, with a 6-5 mark in Big East action.
This will be the first of two matchups the two sides play against each other this season. DePaul owns a 6-2 all-time advantage over Butler is the series, although Butler won the most recent matchup in the 2013-14 regular-season finale at Rosemont, 79-46.
DePaul seems to have Seton Hall's number, especially this season. The Blue Demons took down the Pirates in New Jersey earlier in the season, then thrashed the Pirates at Allstate Arena on Tuesday in a 13-point victory. DePaul shot 50.8 percent from the floor in the win, and held Seton Hall to 36 percent shooting from the floor in the win. Jamee Crockett netted 21 points to pace the Demons in the victory, while Billy Garrett added 20 points, four rebounds and four assists. Myke Henry chipped in with 11 points and six boards for DePaul, which opened up the big lead in the second half after holding Seton Hall to 23.8 percent shooting in the frame.
Offense hasn't been an issue for DePaul this season, as the Blue Demons rank fourth in the Big East in scoring offense at 71.8 ppg with a 44.6 percent shooting touch from the floor. It's the team's defense that has caused the most trouble, allowing a whopping 73.1 ppg to opponents, which checks in dead last in the conference. Garrett is having a stellar season for the Blue Demons, leading the team in both scoring (13.5 ppg) and in total assists (93 - 3.9 apg). Henry is second on the squad in scoring with a 12.8 ppg mark, while Crockett (11.0 ppg) and Tommy Hamilton (10.8 ppg) round out a group of double- digit scorers for DePaul this season. Henry has taken over the team lead from Hamilton in rebounding, bringing down 5.5 rpg.
Butler opened up an eight-point lead over St. John's by the time the first half was over on Tuesday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. It was still a manageable margin for the Red Storm, but the Bulldogs wouldn't let them have hope for long. Butler connected on 61.5 percent of its second-half shots to pile on 15 more points to the team's lead. Kellen Dunham contributed a team-best 21 points in the win for the Bulldogs, adding in seven rebounds. Alex Barlow scored 15 points with five boards, Andrew Chrabascz chipped in 14 with seven rebounds, and Roosevelt Jones added 13 points with four assists. Kameron Woods nearly had a double-double for Butler in the win, netting nine points with 12 rebounds. All but 13 points for Butler on the night came from its starting lineup.
Dunham has been a strong leader through 23 games this season, as the guard paces Butler in scoring at 16.3 ppg - ranked fourth in the Big East. Jones, at 12.7 ppg, and Chrabascz, netting 11.0 ppg, round out a trio of double-digit scorers for the team. The Bulldogs are netting 71.3 ppg, but have built more of a respectable foundation around defense. The team is allowing opponents to net only 60.5 ppg this season, the second-best mark in the conference behind Villanova. Woods, who grabs an average of 9.5 rpg, leads the league on the glass, and the big ma Jones has dished out a team-best 87 assists.