Xavier Stifles Butler In Tip-Off Marathon
CINCINNATI, OHIO -- Forwards Jeff Robinson and Travis Taylor combined for 27 points, and host Xavier used a stifling defense to throttle Butler, 62-47, at the Cintas Center on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The mid-afternoon game was part of the 2012 ESPN Tip-Off Marathon.
Robinson had 12 points in the first half and Taylor added eight to lead the Musketeers (2-0) to a 36-29 halftime lead. The Cincinnati squad then opened the second half with a 16-6 run to put things out of reach.
"Xavier was the better team. They played better, they were better coached, just better," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the game. "It was not even close, so we'll see if we can make up some ground over the next four months."
It was with striking distance through the first 22 minutes. Senior Rotnei Clarke hit his lone three-point field goal of the contest to draw the Bulldogs to within five points, 21-16, with 8:42 left in the first half, but the Musketeers answered with an 11-2 run to stretch the lead to 14 points.
Butler trimmed the margin in half by halftime, and closed to within four points, 36-32, on a basket by Khyle Marshall with 17:59 left in the game. But Xavier scored the next seven points and the lead never dipped below double-figures for the remainder of the contest.
"We knew what is was going to be like coming in here. The fact is that we just didn't do what you have to do to be successful here, let alone at home," noted Stevens. "We talked about prior to the game that you have to choose to be aggressive in every single situation. Candidly, they were more aggressive the entire game."
The Musketeers held Butler to 36.5% shooting for the game and just 18 points in the second half. Clarke, the Bulldogs' leading scorer, was limited to just seven points on three of 11 shooting, including one of seven from beyond the three-point arc. The Bulldogs, who knocked down nine three-pointers in a victory over Elon three days earlier, managed to his just four of 18 shots from the three-point arc.
Freshman Kellen Dunham came off the bench to lead Butler (1-1) with 11 points, while senior Andrew Smith added nine. Sophomore Roosevelt Jones had a team-high seven rebounds, while helping the Bulldogs to a 31-29 rebounding advantage.
Xavier, coming off a 117-75 win in its opener, shot 50% (23-46) for the game. Robinson led the way with 17 points, while Taylor added 15. Guard Justin Martin chipped in with 10 points.
The game between the two Atlantic 10 Conference foes was played as a non-conference game, since it was scheduled before Butler joined the A-10 last summer.
Butler will have to regroup in a hurry. The Bulldogs depart for Hawaii on Friday, Nov. 16, where they will play three games in the Maui Invitational, Nov. 19-21. Butler's first game on the islands will be against Marquette on Monday, Nov. 19, at 3:30 p.m. (ET).