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Butler Falls At Xavier

The Bulldogs weren't able to pull off back-to-back top-5 wins, suffer first Big East loss after last night in Cincy.

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Butler suffered its first BIG EAST loss of the season, falling at No. 5 Xavier, 86-79, Tuesday night at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. Butler is now 12-4 on the season and 2-1 in BIG EAST play. Xavier improves to 15-1 (3-0 BIG EAST).

The host 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 with 3:42 to play (72-66).
Xavier would hit enough free throws down the stretch to take the win as Butler could connect only one of five attempts from the field in the closing minute.

Xavier went 24-of-37 from the free throw line; Butler was only 6-of-8.

"Xavier is a really good team and they play really well here," said Butler 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. Seventy-nine points is enough to win in this league, but we have to guard better."

Butler had two players each score at least 20 points for the fourth consecutive game. Kamar Baldwin had 28 points and Kelan Martin had 25.

Xavier would put five players in double figures, led by senior standouts Trevon Bluiett (21) and J.P. Macura (20). 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.

Xavier shot 45 percent from the field, and had a 19-4 advantage in fast-break points.

Butler shot 41 percent, but only 7-of-27 from three-point range (26 percent). The Bulldogs committed only five turnovers in the 40 minutes.

Sean McDermott (11) and Nate Fowler (nine) came off the bench to combine for 20 rebounds. Paul Jorgensen added 10 points.

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.

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