Butler tries to further its dominance in the state of Indiana and gain a measure of revenge Saturday when the 15th-ranked Bulldogs travel to Terre Haute to play Indiana State.
The Bulldogs (10-0) already have knocked off four in-state rivals this season, defeating Indiana, Notre Dame, Valparaiso and most recently Ball State.
Mark Green scored a career-high 21 points Wednesday in a 65-41 victory as Butler had little trouble with the Cardinals’ full-court pressure, easily adjusting to the faster pace to get easy baskets and holding Ball State to 29.8 percent shooting.
“I guess I’m mostly impressed by the way our guys played together,” Butler coach Todd Lickliter said. “If you defend well, you do it as a team. If you’re a good offense, you have to do that together, too.”
Lickliter’s team will play two other intrastate foes—Purdue on Dec. 16 in the John Wooden Classic and Evansville at home Dec. 22.
Butler has held three consecutive opponents under 50 points, and is allowing 54.5 points per game to rank among the Division I leaders. The Bulldogs are limiting opponents to 27.6 percent shooting from 3-point range and 39.0 percent overall.
Their 10-0 start is tied for third-best in school history, matching Lickliter’s 2002-03 team. The 1930-31 squad won its first 11 games, and Lickliter’s 2001-02 team established the school record with a 13-0 start.
Green, a junior guard who sat out last season after transferring from Towson, has averaged 17.7 points in his last three games while shooting 16-for-28 (57.1 percent) from the field.
“I think we take our focus up a notch each game, and we’ve got to keep taking it up a notch higher each game,” said Green, second on the team with 14.3 points per game. “We have all the right pieces and we play as one.”
While Butler leads the all-time series 66-55, Indiana State has won the last two games by a combined four points. Last season, the Sycamores escaped Hinkle Fieldhouse with a 59-58 victory on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Tyson Schnitker for their first victory at Butler since 1985.
Indiana State (4-3), which is 1-2 against in-state rivals, is coming off a 73-70 overtime loss last Saturday at Ball State. Jay Tunnell had career highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds to notch his first double-double for the Sycamores, who lost despite shooting a season-high 53.2 percent (25-for-47).
Tunnell, who is second on the team with 10.9 points per game, is shooting 60 percent from the field. Gabriel Moore is averaging team highs of 13.4 points, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals for Indiana State, which has limited opponents to 63.1 points per game.
This is the first home game against a ranked opponent for Indiana State since its 72-67 upset of then-No. 18 Indiana on Dec. 6, 2005. The Bulldogs are the highest-ranked team to visit the Hulman Center since then-No. 13 Bradley won 54-52 on Feb. 13, 1986.