By: Isabel Smith ~Staff Writer~
After a tough weekday loss to an unranked Creighton squad, the Musketeers went in search of redemption at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday where Xavier defeated the Butler Bulldogs 74-57. The Musketeers improved to 22-3 overall and 10-3 against Big East opponents.
The Musketeers started the Creighton game on Feb. 9 going only 2-of-15 from the floor. Xavier looked for a stronger start in the game against Butler. The Musketeers were able to hit four of the initial five shots, two of which were three pointers. The Bulldogs answered with a pair of offensive rebounds that earned the team four second-chance points, putting the Bulldogs in the lead by two at the first media timeout.
The Musketeers returned from the break with an answer to the Bulldogs’ lead. Junior Myles Davis produced a three to put Xavier in the lead for the first time in the game. Butler quickly fired back with a 9-0 run that put them at their largest lead of the game, 21-13.
Senior Remy Abell ended the Bulldogs’ run with a three, coupled with a basket by sophomore Sean O’Mara. The Musketeers turned the game around with a 10-2 run that tied the game at 23 with 10 minutes left in the period.
Butler’s fire in the beginning of the match seemed to wear out. While they began the game by making 6-of-9, the Bulldogs only made three of the following 15. This allowed Xavier to take the lead. Butler gained it back before Xavier’s 12-0 run put the Musketeers comfortably ahead by ten points with 3:34 to go before the half.
Xavier continued to outscore the home team in the remaining minutes of the period to gain a 14-point lead that carried the Musketeers into the break. Abell put forth an impressive performance in the half, leading Xavier in scoring with 10 points. Davis posted 9 points, all of which came from perfect shooting from behind the arc. The Musketeers shot 65 percent from the floor and 72 percent for three-point field goals. This nearly doubles the Bulldogs’ 34.3 field goal percentage and 28.6 three-point field goal percentage.
In the next half, the Bulldogs managed to dissolve the Musketeers’ lead to as little as seven, but Butler eventually went on to score zero points in a span of almost four minutes, further building Xavier’s lead. The Musketeers extended the lead to as many as 18 points before establishing victory at 74-57.
Xavier finished with an average of 56.9 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the arc. Butler only averaged 33.3 percent in field goals and 36.4 percent from the three-point line.
Sophomore J.P. Macura led Xavier with 13 points, followed by both Abell and freshman Edmond Sumner with 12 points. Sophomore Trevon Bluiett rounded out the squad of double-digit scorers with 11 points.
Senior James Farr led Xavier with 12 rebounds, but the opposition did have 11 offensive to add 17 second-chance points to the board.
Xavier returns to action at 7 p.m. tonight hosting Providence for GE Aviation Military Appreciation Night.