Bulldogs seek to ground Skyhawks

Dec 22, 2014 - 3:34 PM Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - After losing two consecutive games, the Butler Bulldogs will try to get back on track as they play host to the UT Martin Skyhawks in a non-conference affair at Hinkle Fieldhouse Monday.

UT Martin also has three losses this season, and is one win shy of reaching Butler's eight this season. The Skyhawks have won four of their last five, with a recent victory over Presbyterian (77-60) serving as the team's latest outing.

Butler was 8-1 to start the season, but consecutive losses to Tennessee (67-55) and Indiana (82-73) set the team back to three losses on the early campaign.

UT Martin and Butler have met a total of two times on the court in their series history, with each team earning a victory for the series split.

The Skyhawks allowed Presbyterian to shoot 49 percent from the floor in the game on Saturday, but UT Martin was able to down the Blue Hose with relative ease thanks to 58 percent shooting from the floor for the home squad, which included an 11-of-21 mark from 3-point range. Deville Smith netted a team-best 23 points for UT Martin, adding in nine assists to his resume. Twymond Howard chipped in with 16 points, and Alex Anderson netted 12. Marshun Newell boasted a very generous stat line of 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the victory.

UT Martin's offense has been clicking this season, and it shows in a very strong 49.5 percent shooting touch and a 75.1 ppg mark. Smith and Howard are at the top of the team's scoring leaderboard, netting 14.3 ppg and 14.2 ppg, respectively. Add in Newell's 11.7 ppg, Myles Taylor's 11.1 ppg (in seven games played) and Anderson's 11.0 ppg, and the Skyhawks are set offensively. Taylor, who will miss yet another game with a sprained ankle, tops the team at 6.0 rpg. But in his absence it's been Howard's 5.9 rpg mark that is the best active average.

It was a tough day offensively for Butler on Saturday, as the team could only manage 39.1 percent shooting from the field in the loss to Indiana - the team's second straight this season. But perhaps the team's 5-0 record at home will count toward something big as it prepares to take on the Skyhawks. Kellen Dunham scored 23 points to pace Butler, while Andrew Chrabascz added 14 in the defeat. Roosevelt Jones contributed 11 points with eight rebounds, while Kameron Woods tallied a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Despite the two straight losses, the Bulldogs are still netting a very respectable 72.4 ppg this season on 44.7 percent shooting from the floor. Dunham leads the scoring charge, averaging 16.9 ppg on 45.1 percent shooting, adding in an 89.1 percent shooting touch from the free-throw line. Jones (10.6 ppg) and Kelan Martin (10.5 ppg) round out a trio of double-digit scorers. The Bulldogs have played strong defensively in holding opponents to 57.9 ppg on 39.9 percent shooting.

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