Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Hoping to recover from four consecutive losses, the Marquette Golden Eagles will entertain the 25th-ranked Butler Bulldogs in a Big East Conference showdown at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday.
The recent skid - all to Big East competition - has dropped Marquette down to 2-6 in league play this season. The 10-10 Golden Eagles are coming off a recent defeat at the hands of Seton Hall, 80-70, at home, where Marquette is 8-4 on the year.
Butler is on the upswing, jumping into the Top-25 earlier in the week. The Bulldogs have won two straight decisions, and four of their last five altogether. Butler took down Creighton (64-61) and Seton Hall (77-57) in the team's last two outings to improve to 5-3 in Big East play.
Marquette holds the advantage in the all-time series, 16-13, as these two teams will meet one other time later this season in Indianapolis. The sides split the two-game season series a year ago.
Butler faced a tough test as the team hosted the then-24th ranked Seton Hall Pirates on Sunday, but it was the Bulldogs that came out and proved why they should be the ones ranked. Butler connected on 49.1 percent of its shots from the floor, and held the Pirates to just 36.7 percent shooting, which included a 4-of-24 mark from 3-point range. Andrew Chrabascz led the charge for the Bulldogs with 16 points, while Kellen Dunham scored 15 points, Roosevelt Jones added 12 and seven rebounds, Alex Barlow tallied 11 points with eight assists and six boards, and Kelan Martin came off the bench to net 10 points to round out the impressive offensive performance for Butler.
Dunham currently leads Butler and ranks fourth in the Big East in scoring, netting 16.1 ppg this season on 43.9 percent shooting from the floor. The big man Jones has been a well-rounded surprise for the Bulldogs this season, averaging 13.2 ppg, with a team-leading 79 assists and a second-best 6.0 rpg mark. Chrabascz rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers for Butler at 10.0 ppg. Kameron Woods is the team's best rebounder, and ranks second in the Big East with 9.0 boards per outing. The Bulldogs as a unit are scoring 70.7 ppg, and are holding opponents to a league-best 60.1 ppg this season.
Marquette connected on 42.4 percent of its shots from the floor in Wednesday night's contest against Seton Hall, but the Golden Eagles also watched and were seemingly powerless to stop a Pirates team that buried 13-of-26 from 3- point range, and a torrid scoring pace set by Sterling Gibbs. Matt Carlino did the best he could to keep his Eagles in the game, finishing with a team-best 16 points, adding in six rebounds and five assists. Sandy Cohen III added 11 points in the loss, while Juan Anderson and Derrick Wilson each chipped in with 10 points. Wilson dished out eight assists and had seven rebounds in the losing effort.
Carlino is the only Marquette player to have started all 20 games this season for the Golden Eagles, and it's clear why. The transfer guard from BYU is leading the charge in terms of scoring this season at 14.7 ppg with a team- best 68 assists and 29 steals. Duane Wilson (11.7 ppg) and Luke Fischer (10.2 ppg in 12 games played) round out a trio of double-digit scorers for Marquette this season. The Golden Eagles rank second to last, however, in the Big East in terms of scoring offense, with a 68.1 ppg clip. The team is also in the bottom portion of the league rankings in terms of scoring defense, allowing opponents to net 65.8 ppg this season.