Three-point shooting has become a key weapon for Butler. Wright State knows it all too well.
The 10th-ranked Bulldogs seek a 10th straight win and a commanding conference lead when they visit the Raiders on Saturday in a showdown of the top teams in the Horizon League.
Butler (23-2, 11-1) already showed Wright State (18-8, 11-2) what kind of damage it can do from 3-point range, making 12 shots from beyond the arc in a 73-42 rout at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Jan. 6. While the Raiders hit only three 3-pointers, that contest began a stretch during which the Bulldogs have made at least 10 3s in nine of 11 games.
Butler tuned up for the rematch by making a school-record 20 3-pointers in a 92-50 rout at last-place Cleveland State on Thursday.
“On any given night, we’re capable of that,” Bulldogs coach Todd Lickliter said. “Pete (Campbell) is a great shooter, but it goes back to guys sharing the basketball.”
Campbell made six of his eight 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 28 points for the Bulldogs, who had a season-high 27 assists. They also set a Horizon League record for 3-pointers made and shot a season-best 64.1 percent (33-for-51) from the field.
“A lot of them were really good looks,” said Campbell, who has made 62 percent (44-for-71) of his 3-pointers in the last 11 games. “We moved the ball extremely well, that was the key to starting off well. It just seems like a lot of my shots are open, and I’m just doing my best to knock them down.”
Though he is second in the nation in 3-point shooting at 53.0 percent, Campbell’s 53 3s this season rank him second on the team to leading scorer A.J. Graves, who made four on Thursday and has 75. Graves, who averages 17.7 points, and Campbell each made four 3-pointers in last month’s win over Wright State.
Butler is shooting 41.9 percent from beyond the arc in Horizon League play, making an average of 10.5 per game, and only seven teams in Division I have hit more 3-pointers (233) this season.
Wright State has won a season-high six in a row, with four of those wins coming on the road. The Raiders won 74-64 in overtime at Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday to clinch no worse than second place in the conference.
Dashaun Wood had 24 points, nine rebounds, five steals and four assists for Wright State, which took control of the game with a 10-1 run in the extra period.
Wood, the Horizon’s leading scorer at 19.4 points per game, had only 12 in the first game between the teams and took a season-low eight shots. The senior guard has never lost to Butler in the Nutter Center, averaging 18.8 points and shooting 53.6 percent (30-for-56) in four victories.
The 5-foot-11 Wood had 33 points in an 86-83 double-overtime victory over the Bulldogs last season.
This is the first home game against a ranked opponent for Wright State since a 53-49 upset of then-No. 8 Michigan State on Dec. 30, 1999. The Raiders are 0-2 against Top 25 teams this season, also losing 71-45 at then-No. 17 LSU on Dec. 27.
The teams already have clinched the top two seeds for the upcoming Horizon League tournament, and both squads have non-conference ‘Bracketbuster’ games next weekend. Butler is playing No. 21 Southern Illinois at home, while Wright State will host Cal State Fullerton.