Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A new rivalry is formed as Atlantic 10
Conference action opens up on Wednesday night with a matchup between the 14th-
ranked Butler Bulldogs and the Saint Joseph's Hawks at Hagan Arena.
Butler has gotten its first season as a member of the A-10 off to a great
start, winning 12 of 14 matchups to climb up the national rankings. The
Bulldogs' latest victory came in a 57-44 decision over New Orleans last
Saturday. Butler has racked up a handful of signature wins already by beating
North Carolina (82-71) and Marquette (72-71), but the crown jewel was an 88-86
overtime victory over then-No. 1 Indiana back on Dec. 15.
Following back-to-back road wins over Drexel (63-49) and Morgan State (70-60),
Saint Joseph's sits at a solid 8-4 through the first two months of the season.
The Hawks have proven to be giant killers once already this season, having
taken down Notre Dame back in mid-November, 79-70, in overtime.
The Bulldogs own the only win in their series with Saint Joseph's, but that
55-50 triumph was way back in March of 1941.
Butler has had much better efforts than the one put forth against New Orleans
last weekend, as the team shot below 41 percent from the floor and committed
15 turnovers, but it was still able to hang on for the 13-point win by
allowing a season-low 44 points. Kellen Dunham was a spark off the bench with
15 points on the strength of three 3-pointers, while Khyle Marshall chipped in
with 13 points and eight rebounds, and Roosevelt Jones finished with a line of
11 points, six boards and four assists. The Bulldogs have typically been much
more efficient from the field this season, draining better than 46 percent of
their total shots for 72.8 ppg -- its scoring margin sitting at plus-9.2.
Rotnei Clarke is one of the A-10's most potent scorers, pouring in 16.2 ppg
thanks mostly to his 52 3-pointers made at a 43 percent clip. Dunham (11.2
ppg), Marshall (11.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Andrew Smith (10.9 ppg) are also
effective, as is Jones, who just misses the double-digit scorers club with 9.6
Saint Joseph's was able to capture an impressive 10-point road victory by
outshooting Morgan State from the field, .444 to .304. Carl Jones and Langston
Galloway each had strong scoring games with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Ronald Roberts added a double-double in the triumph with 12 points and 11
rebounds, while Halil Kanacevic stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, 12
boards, five assists and three blocks (and also six turnovers). The Hawks'
offensive output has been disappointing this season, as their scoring average
of 68.2 ppg ranks in the lower half of the A-10. On the other hand, they have
been solid on defense, allowing just 62.4 ppg, which ranks sixth in the
league. Jones (15.6 ppg) and Galloway (15.0 ppg) contend for the team's top
scorer on a nightly basis, and the two have combined to drain 55 of the
squad's 87 buckets from beyond the arc. C.J. Aiken (12.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, A-10-
best 3.1 bpg) and Roberts (10.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg) have been solid in the paint,
while Chris Wilson (8.0 ppg, 3.9 apg) and Kanacevic (7.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.4
apg, 1.9 bpg, 1.4 spg) round out SJU's six-man rotation, all of whom average
at least 31 minutes per game.
The Sports Network