After rebounding from three consecutive losses with back-to-back victories, the Butler men’s basketball team will look to make it three straight when it hosts Providence on Feb. 1 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Bulldogs, ranked 16th in the country in the most recent Associated Press poll, are coming off a 69-64 road win over the Georgetown Hoyas on Jan. 28. The Bulldogs overcame an 11-point halftime deficit in that game thanks in large part to redshirt senior forward Sean McDermott, who scored 25 points in 37 minutes of action, tying his career high with seven 3-pointers.
Butler currently owns a 17-4 record and 5-3 mark in Big East play, good for a tie for third in the conference standings.
Providence, meanwhile, is aiming to halt a three-game skid and pick up its first win over a ranked opponent in its last 12 attempts. The Friars are coming off a 64-60 home loss to Villanova on Jan. 25 which dropped them to 4-4 in conference play and 11-10 overall.
The Friars will be the first Big East opponent to conclude its regular season series with Butler. The two teams squared off back on Jan. 10, when the Bulldogs picked up their third straight win to open conference play with a 70-58 victory. Junior forward Jordan Tucker came off the bench to score a season-high 17 points while three other Butler players scored in double figures. Butler also out-rebounded Providence 44-26.
The Bulldogs enter Saturday’s contest with a top ten defense in the country. Butler has held opponents to an average of just under 60 points per game this season, a mark bested by only eight teams nationally.
That defense matches up well against a Friars squad that’s one of the worst teams in the conference offensively. Providence’s field goal percentage of 40.1% is outside the top 330 nationally, and the Friars are eighth or worse in the Big East in 3-point and 2-point conversion rate. Providence is led in scoring by guards Alpha Diallo and David Duke, who are averaging 13.3 and 12.7 points per game, respectively.
Butler guard Kamar Baldwin, who was named Big East Player of the Week on Jan. 27 for the first time in his career, is averaging an impressive 19.5 points per contest in conference play.
The Bulldogs may be without junior guard and primary ball distributor Aaron Thompson in this game due to a left wrist injury. Thompson has missed the last two games due to the injury suffered against Villanova on Jan. 21. On Jan. 30, Butler head coach LaVall Jordan confirmed that Thompson’s status remains day-to-day.
Tipoff at Hinkle Fieldhouse is slated for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FS1 as well as the Butler Radio Network.