CINCINNATI — Sophomore guard Myles Davis scored 18 points, helping Xavier strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume with a 73-56 victory over 19th-ranked Butler on Saturday at Cintas Center.
Freshman forward Trevon Bluiett added 11 points for the Musketeers (18-10, 8-7 in the Big East Conference), who were coming off an emotional win over crosstown rival Cincinnati.
Xavier was dominant throughout Saturday’s game, leading by as many as 29 points.
Butler (19-8, 9-5) played its second game without 6-foot-7 forward Andrew Chrabascz.
And, Xavier took full advantage, outscoring Butler, 36-28, in the paint.
Junior forward Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs with 14 points and senior guard Alex Barlow added 10 points.
To make matters worse for Butler, leading scorer Kellen Dunham picked up his fourth foul with 16 minutes remaining and wasn’t much of a factor. The junior guard finished with nine points, well below his 16.8 average.
Xavier coach Chris Mack said his team got “out-toughed” in a loss at Butler on Jan. 10. Not so much on Saturday.
Much like the snowy weather in Cincinnati on Saturday, the Musketeers and Bulldogs were sloppy early on, combining for 11 turnovers in the first eight minutes.
But, Xavier caught fire in the final few minutes of the first half, closing on an 8-2 run to lead, 33-22, at halftime.
The first half was marred by foul trouble for both teams, and the officials were booed loudly when they walked off at halftime.
Following his team’s fifth turnover in six minutes, Bulldogs coach Chris Holtmann was whistled for a technical foul.
Myles Davis hit one of two technical free throws to give Xavier a 12-4 lead. Davis led all scorers with 12 points in the first half.
Mack received a technical foul after stomping his foot following center Matt Stainbrook’s second foul.
Two technical free throws by Dunham capped a 6-0 run by Butler to trim Xavier’s lead to two.
Xavier had three players with two fouls in the first half, including post players Stainbrook and forward Jalen Reynolds.
Butler forward Austin Etherington and Dunham each had three fouls.
The Bulldogs were 0-for-7 from 3-point range in the first half and shot only 24.1 percent from the field.
Xavier was only 1-for-7 from behind the arc in the first half. But, the Musketeers hit their first three 3-point shots after halftime to pull away.
Senior guard Dee Davis, who was 5-for-5 from 3-point range in Wednesday’s win at Cincinnati, hit his first one. Then, Myles Davis connected on two straight to put Xavier ahead, 44-26.
A 3-pointer by freshman guard J.P. Macura put Xavier ahead, 51-31, with 13 minutes left.
NOTES: Butler freshman F Tyler Wideman made his second straight start in place of Andrew Chrabascz, who missed his second game because of a broken bone in his right hand and is expected to miss four weeks. Chrabascz scored 19 points in Butler’s win over Xavier on Jan. 10. … Xavier is 4-1 this season against teams ranked in the Associated Press top 25. … The Musketeers lead the series, 34-18, including wins in 13 of the last 17 meetings. … Butler fell to 1-4 all-time against Xavier at the Cintas Center.
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