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NJIT (6-8) at Butler (9-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 1 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Hinkle Fieldhouse (10,000) -- Indianapolis, Indiana. Television: FS2. Home Record: NJIT 3-4, Butler 5-0. Away Record: NJIT 3-4, Butler 2-0. Neutral Record: NJIT 0-0, Butler 2-2. Conference Record: NJIT 0-0, Butler 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The Butler Bulldogs will finish up their non-conference schedule on Saturday as they host the NJIT Highlanders in a battle at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

NJIT, which is playing as an Independent this season, is currently riding a four-game skid that has dropped them to 6-8 overall. The most recent setback was a 77-65 disappointment against Saint Francis Brooklyn, which kicked off the four-game road trip it is currently on. The next two bouts will feature visits to Hofstra and Saint Francis (PA).

Butler has been headed in the opposite direction, with wins in four straight tilts. The winning streak has the Bulldogs at 9-2 overall, including a perfect 5-0 mark at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler plays its first game as a member of the new Big East on Tuesday when its hosts No. 8 Villanova.

Saturday's matchup marks the first ever between these two programs.

The Highlanders had trouble staying in a rhythm offensively in their loss to Saint Francis Brooklyn. They knocked down just 31.7 percent of their field goal attempts, though they did connect on 7-of-16 shots from beyond the arc. Terrence Smith led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

During its four-game losing streak, NJIT has really been struggling to find the basket at a consistent pace. Although they are averaging 71.3 points per game on the season, the Highlanders have scored 65 points or less in four of the last five outings. Damon Lynn (16.6 ppg) and Smith (13.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) are the most productive scorers on the roster. Lynn had 13 points in the loss to Saint Francis but did so on just 4-of-10 shooting. Winfield Willis (10.6 ppg) had eight points on a 2-of-8 shooting effort in the loss as well.

Butler visited Evansville last time out and rallied for a 68-59 victory. The Bulldogs only hit 37.7 percent of their field goal attempts in the win, but they owned a 49-31 advantage on the boards and doubled up the Purple Aces in second-chance points (16-8).

For the Bulldogs, playing well on defense has been the key under Brandon Miller, who took over as head coach when Brad Stevens took the top gig with the Boston Celtics. Butler is holding opponents to just 63.8 points per game on 42.8 percent shooting, enjoying a nearly 13-point scoring margin. Kellen Dunham (18.9 ppg) and Khyle Marshall (16.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are the top scoring options for the team. Dunham had 15 points, but on only 5-of-16 shooting against Evansville, while Marshall finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Kameron Woods (9.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg) anchors the team inside with solid scoring and rebounding.

In this matchup Butler's defensive prowess should win out as the Bulldogs clamp down on Lynn and Smith and force the rest of the Highlanders to carry the load.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Butler 78, NJIT 63

12/28 10:46:02 ET

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Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
 
3rd
UTAH 10
USC 14
 
Half
WASH 0
ARST 10
 
1st
HAW 0
NEV 0
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
3rd
CAL 1
WAS 3
 
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14