As two of the 11 members of the Pioneer Football League, Butler and Morehead State have faced off 22 times on the FCS gridiron. Such is not the case on the hardwood, however, as the Bulldogs host the Eagles on Tuesday in the first college basketball meeting between the two schools.
Butler saw its five-game winning streak come to an emphatic halt in Saturday’s 82-67 setback versus No. 16 Purdue in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis, following up its best offensive performance one week earlier (95 points against Youngstown State) with one of its worst. The Bulldogs were able to cut a 26-point deficit down to nine but ultimately cannot overcome a 21.2-percent effort from the field during their 19-point first half. “I thought the second half there was a lot to be proud of, the way we fought back and played with a little more energy. … That one’s on me to just make sure we start games with the same mentality, with the same aggressiveness, and try to get the same quality on both ends of the floor that we did late,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. The Eagles, who have won two straight and three of four, shot over 50 percent for the fourth time in five games to overcome a season-high 28 turnovers in Sunday’s 98-94 overtime victory against Central Arkansas.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT MOREHEAD STATE (4-6): The Eagles have either led the Ohio Valley Conference or ranked second in rebounding margin in 11 consecutive seasons and are doing so again, as their plus-7.9 rebound margin ranks second in the conference and 32nd in Division I. Sophomore forward Londell King (8.8 points) leads the charge with a team-high 6.8 boards despite averaging only 15.1 minutes and was named OVC Newcomer of the Week after posting back-to-back 17-point, seven-rebound efforts against Kentucky Christian and Central Arkansas. Sophomore guard Jordan Walker (team-high 12.7 points) drained all 11 of his foul shots Sunday en route to a season-high 23 points Sunday and has hit 17 straight free throws - his second streak of at least 15 this season.
ABOUT BUTLER (8-3): Senior forward Kelan Martin (team-leading averages of 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds) is playing a Big East-high 35.5 minutes per game and averaging 21 points and 8.2 rebounds over his last five outings. Sophomore guard Kamar Baldwin (13.4 points) had a game to forget against the Boilermakers, misfiring on 11 of his first 12 shots and going 5-of-19 from the field overall to finish with 13 points, zero assists and a career-high five turnovers. The Bulldogs’ perimeter attack should get a boost from Sean McDermott, who played eight minutes in his return from a four-game absence due to an ankle injury; the sophomore guard ranks second on the team in 3-point shooting (40.7).
1. Butler’s 41-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents is the third-longest active run in Division I (Duke - 138; Arizona - 46).
2. The Eagles fell to 4-7 all-time against Big East foes following their 101-49 loss to No. 8 Xavier in the season opener.
3. Bulldogs G Paul Jorgensen is 19-of-37 from 3-point range over the last six games.
PREDICTION: Butler 82, Morehead State 66