Butler looks to extend its non-conference home winning streak to 40 games when it faces Utah on Tuesday. The Bulldogs have won their last three contests, including a 75-45 rout of Saint Louis on Saturday, and hope to continue their winning ways by topping the Utes for the second time in as many seasons following a 68-59 road victory on Nov. 28, 2016.
“I think the guys have the right mindset of continuing to get better every day,” Butler head coach LaVall Jordan told reporters. “They come to practice with that mindset to continue to work and push each other.” Utah bounced back from its first loss of the season to UNLV on Nov. 23 with back-to-back wins, including an 80-60 victory against Hawaii on Saturday. The Utes have dropped nine of their last 12 non-conference road games since the start of 2011-12 but hope to pass their first true road test of the season by beating Butler for the first time since a 95-66 triumph in 1964. Utah has lost its last two games to Big East opponents by an average margin of 8.5 points but searches for a resume-building road win in December that could potentially pay big dividends in March.
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ABOUT UTAH (6-1): Donnie Tillman came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points in the win against Hawaii to finish in double figures for the sixth consecutive game. David Collette also tallied 16 points while Gabe Bealer went 4-of-7 from 3-point range en route to 14 points, but the rest of the team went a combined 4-for-16 from beyond the arc. “I think from an offensive point of view, it’s not like we need to recreate the wheel at this point,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak told reporters. “We’ve done a lot of shooting this last week and some guys have to find some confidence because then we could be really good.”
ABOUT BUTLER (6-2): Senior forward Kelan Martin led the Bulldogs with 20 points and 12 rebounds in the win against Saint Louis to record the second double-double of the season and the 12th of his career. Martin has tallied 1,436 points in his career and needs three more to move past Bobby Plump (1955-58) for 15th place on Butler’s all-time scoring list. Kamar Baldwin continued his steady play as he added 14 points against the Billikens to finish in double figures for the sixth time in the last seven games while Paul Jorgensen contributed 11 points, four assists and three steals.
1. Butler hasn’t lost a non-conference home game since 2012.
2. Martin has scored 20 points or more 25 times in his career.
3. Bealer has made at least three 3-pointers in each of his first seven games.
PREDICTION: Utah 71, Butler 69