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Game Recap: Xavier 79, Butler 68

Up five at the half, Butler goes cold and falls on the road to the Musketeers.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Four factors

66 possessions Butler Xavier
Effective FG% 55.8% 56.4%
Turnover % 22.7% 12.1%
Offensive Rebound % 26.5% 27.6%
FTA/FGA 46.2 43.6

Behind a strong first half by Khyle Marshall, the Butler Bulldogs entered the break leading the Xavier Musketeers 42-37. After that, it all unraveled.

Butler managed just 26 second half points and one field goal in the final 6:12 of regulation while allowing four Xavier players to score in double figures. Semaj Christon led the home team with 20 points and eight assists, but Matt Stainbrook also took advantage of his height inside to score 17 and add seven rebounds.

The Bulldogs finished with nearly twice as many turnovers as Xavier, a disappointing performance for the team with the second-lowest turnover rate in the Big East. Kellen Dunham was the biggest culprit with five. Butler has now committed 15 or more turnovers in four of its last seven games.

Butler Breakdown (Player Grades)-

Alex Barlow (C-) picked up two early fouls, limiting his minutes and effectiveness on the defensive end. In his absence, Samaj Christon went off in the first half and kept Xavier close while Butler shot 61% from the field.

Dunham (D) was targeted from the early going. Xavier limited the shooting guard to 11 points on 3-10 from the field. His five turnovers marked a career-high.

Khyle Marshall (C-) carried the offense with 11 points in the first half, but disappeared following the break. 25 points between him and Dunham marked the lowest output by the pair since the Oklahoma State loss.

Kameron Woods (C-) had an underwhelming eight points and seven rebounds. He added four turnovers and four fouls. He and Erik Fromm (C) were completely unable to keep Xavier's bigger and more athletic players from getting to the rim. With Dunham taken out of the game and Marshall struggling, neither big man was able to provide points in the paint when Butler needed them most either.

Elijah Brown (C+) has never seen a shot he didn't like, which provided a much-needed spark against Villanova. He started shooting well today, but finished the game with three missed three pointers in the final 90 seconds when Butler could not buy a basket. Andrew Chrabascz (B) showed some potential off the bench, especially with the Bulldogs struggling with Xavier's size in the paint. He equaled Erik Fromm's point total and grabbed five rebounds.

A bit surprising that Nolan Berry did not see any action. He's the biggest player on Butler's roster and might have provided a boost in the paint, though he's clearly still very raw. The Bulldogs' depth problems seemed to shine through as the undersized and worn down Butler starters were outscored 15-4 in the final six minutes.

Butler next takes action at home against DePaul on January 9th.