February 13, 2020 / 2:00 AM / 4 days ago

No. 19 Butler's balance proves too much for Xavier

EditorsNote: changes to “25 of 53” in second graf, changes to “57-43” in fourth graf

Feb 12, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Xavier Musketeers forward Tyrique Jones (4) dunks the ball on Butler Bulldogs forward Bryce Golden (33) in the first half at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Sean McDermott scored 14 points, Kamar Baldwin added 11 and Jordan Tucker finished with 10 to lead a balanced attack as No. 19 Butler avoided an upset with a 66-61 win over Xavier on Wednesday night in Indianapolis.

The Bulldogs (19-6, 7-5 Big East) shot 47.2 percent (25 of 53) from the field, including 38.1 percent on 3-point attempts (8 of 21), but endured several cold spells while improving to 12-2 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Musketeers (16-9, 5-7) outscored Butler 38-34 in the second half, with Naji Marshall scoring a game-high 20 points to go with seven assists and seven rebounds. Tyrique Jones had a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards.

Aaron Thompson scored four straight points and Tucker added a layup to give the Bulldogs a 42-25 lead early in the second half. Tucker drilled two 3-pointers in a three-possession span to pad the lead to 57-43 with 5:50 remaining.

Marshall helped bring the Musketeers back in the game, scoring four points in a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 57-50. Xavier clamped down on defense, holding Butler without a field goal for just over three minutes and soon slicing the margin to 61-55 on a basket by Marshall.

Baldwin had a key block and added a step-back jumper to give the Bulldogs some breathing room at 64-55 with 1:13 left.

Both teams finished the game with only nine turnovers. The rebounding battle was also a tie (29-29).

After Xavier built a 7-2 lead in the first three minutes, the Bulldogs reeled off a 23-7 run to seize a 25-14 lead on Henry Baddley’s 3-pointer.

Butler made 6 of 14 3-point tries and turned the ball over just four times in the opening half.

The Bulldogs were dealt a pair of tough blows. Thompson left with an apparent head injury and sat out the rest of the game. Derrik Smits also sustained a left knee injury late in the second half and did not return.

—Field Level Media

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