Trevon Bluiett scored 21 points and J.P. Macura added 20, lifting No. 5 Xavier to an 86-79 victory over Butler on Tuesday night at Cintas Center.
Xavier (15-1, 3-0 Big East) has won 10 straight games since losing to fourth-ranked Arizona State on November 24.
It’s the Musketeers’ best start since the 2015 team won 16 games before its second loss.
Kamar Baldwin scored 28 points and Kelan Martin added 25 for Butler (12-4, 2-1 Big East) which was coming off an emotional 101-93 win over then top-ranked Villanova at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday.
The Bulldogs who hit 15 3-pointers including a school-record 10 straight in the win over ‘Nova, were 7 of 27 from long range Tuesday night.
Xavier led by as many as nine points in the first half and closed with a 7-0 run to take a 44-36 lead at halftime.
Macura starred for the Musketeers in the half, scoring 15 points and going 3 of 7 from 3-point range. Bluiett had 10 including two 3s.
Martin who had 15 points in the first half to lead Butler went scoreless for around 13 minutes.
Xavier stayed hot from the perimeter in the second half.
Gates’ first 3-pointer of the night increased Xavier’s lead to 51-41 early in the second half.
Macura hit a 3-pointer on a kick-out from O‘Mara and Gates connected again from distance to put the Musketeers ahead by 14 with nine minutes remaining.
Gates picked up his fourth foul with 8:38 left and Butler was hanging around.
The Bulldogs reduced a 14-point deficit to single digits on Henry Baddley’s jumper with five minutes left.
The Musketeers led 72-62 with 4:35 left when Butler made a run and cut its deficit to five points on Baldwin’s 3-pointer with 1:11 left. But, Bluiett and Macura, the nation’s top scoring duo proved too much.
Xavier leads the all-time series 39-20 including wins in 11 of the past 15 meetings. The Musketeers’ win over Butler in last year’s Big East Tournament rescued XU’s NCAA Tournament chances and sparked a run to the Elite Eight.