INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, coming off a home win against #1/1 Villanova, traveled to face the #5/5 Xavier Musketeers at the Cintas Center on Tuesday, January 2. Butler suffered its first BIG EAST Conference loss of the season, falling 86-79, Butler is now 12-4 (2-1 BIG EAST) while Xavier improves to 15-1 (3-0 BIG EAST).
“Xavier is a really good team and they play really well here,” said Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan. “I thought we had some opportunities to make a little more of a run there at the end, but we had a few looks that didn’t go in. 79 points is enough to win in this league, but we have to guard better.”
A 7-0 run to close the first half gave Xavier a 44-36 halftime advantage. Xavier would slowly build the lead to 14 in the second half before Butler was able to chip back into the game.The Musketeers took their largest lead of the night at 66-52 with 9:37 to play in the game before Butler cut the margin to only six at 72-66 with 3:42 to play on a jumper from senior F Kelan Martin. Xavier would hit enough free throws down the stretch to take the win as Butler could connect on only 1-5 attempts from the field in the closing minute.
Butler shot 41.3% (33-80) from the field, but only 25.9% (7-27) from three-point range. Xavier shot 45% (27-60) from the field, including 40% (8-20) from three. Xavier went 24-of-37 from the free throw line; Butler was only 6-of-8.
Butler had two players each score at least 20 points for the fourth consecutive game. Sophomore G Kamar Baldwin had 28 points on a and senior F Kelan Martin had 25.
Redshirt sophomore F Sean McDermott (11) and junior C Nate Fowler (nine) came off the bench to combine for 20 of the 42 team rebounds. Redshirt junior G Paul Jorgensen added 10 points.
Xavier had a 19-4 advantage in fast-break points and held a 47-42 rebound advantage..
Xavier would put five players in double figures, led by senior G Trevon Bluiett (21) and senior G J.P. Macura (20).
The Bulldogs return to action Saturday, hosting another Top 25 opponent in Seton Hall. The 2:30 p.m. tip will air nationally on FS1.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISRand the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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