Rosemont, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Desperately trying to put a stop to a five- game losing streak, the DePaul Blue Demons will host the 23rd-ranked Butler Bulldogs in a Big East Conference tilt at Allstate Arena on Saturday.
DePaul lost for the fifth consecutive time on Tuesday when the Blue Demons fell at home to Creighton, 75-62. Now 6-10 in conference play, DePaul's resume is dwindling after an above-average start to the 2014-15 campaign.
Butler is coming off a resounding 73-52 victory over Marquette on Wednesday, which means the Bulldogs have now won two of their last three games. However, Butler hasn't been able to string a pair of wins together since the beginning of the month, and with a 9-5 Big East record, the Bulldogs need to pad their credentials as the postseason nears.
DePaul leads the all-time series against Butler 6-3, but it is Butler seeking the regular-season sweep after earning an 83-73 decision back on Feb. 7.
Butler returned to its strong offensive form on Wednesday against Marquette after the Bulldogs floundered in a lopsided loss to Xavier last weekend. Butler connected on 50.9 percent of its shots from the field, which included a 6-of-10 performance from 3-point distance. Kellen Dunham registered 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting in the win, while Kameron Woods chipped in 14 points with seven rebounds. Roosevelt Jones contributed 10 points and six assists with four boards for Butler, which limited a Marquette team that got Matt Carlino back from injury to just 3-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc.
When Dunham struggles, the Butler offense tends to do the same, and vice versa. The guard's 22 points boosted his team-leading scoring average to 16.8 ppg, which ranks third in the Big East in the category. He's followed in scoring by Jones, who nets 12.9 ppg, and Andrew Chrabascz (11.1 ppg), who is out indefinitely with a broken right hand. Jones leads the team in assists with 3.7 apg, and ranks second on the squad in rebounding (5.4 rpg) behind Woods's 9.5 boards per outing, which ranks second in the conference. Butler's offense generates 70.6 ppg this season on 44.3 percent shooting, while the team's strong scoring defense limits opponents to 61.2 ppg - good for second in the league.
Tuesday's home clash against a wilting Creighton team seemed like the perfect opportunity for DePaul to pull out of its latest funk. However, Bluejays made it to Rosemont ready to play, as the visitors dominated the Blue Demons by connecting on 49 percent of their shots from the floor, with a 19-of-28 mark from the free-throw line. DePaul made 47.2 percent of its attempts in the contest, but hit just 5-of-23 from 3-point range. Forrest Robinson came off the bench to post a team-best 14 points in the loss, while Jamee Crockett added 13 points. Rashaun Stimage chipped in 10 points and four rebounds, which came in behind Tommy Hamilton's five boards in the defeat.
Billy Garrett finished the game against Creighton with eight points and four assists, which dropped his team-leading scoring average to 12.9 ppg on 40.3 percent shooting. The sophomore guard also leads the team in passing, having dished out 3.9 apg (ranked fourth in the Big East) through 29 games played. Myke Henry chips in with 12.2 ppg for the Blue Demons, Crockett adds in 11.4 ppg and Hamilton rounds out the team's double-digit scorers with 10.3 ppg. He and Henry each top the squad with 5.3 rpg efforts. The Blue Demons have played well offensively, netting 70.9 ppg on 44 percent shooting. DePaul's defense has been horrendous, allowing opponents to score 74.2 ppg, which is by far the worst mark in the Big East and ranks 332nd in the entire nation.