In the first overtime game of the Big East tournament, the Xavier Musketeers rallied back from a nine-point second half deficit to knock of the No. 22 Butler Bulldogs 67-61 in an exciting quarterfinal matchup. The Musketeers will take on Georgetown in tomorrow's semifinals at 9:30 ET, while the Bulldogs will be left to find out their seeding for the NCAA tournament this Sunday.
Here's three things we learned:
1. Xavier locks up their spot in the dance (probably)
With 12 regular season losses and a 9-9 conference record, the Musketeers were probably leaning more toward the bubble side of things than "lock" status, but I'd say they've most likely cemented their spot after tonight's win. ESPN's Joe Lunardi had them as a No. 9 seed in his updated Bracketology today, and I can't imagine they'll go anywhere with their display of grit, strong defense and resilience down the stretch against the Bulldogs. This was a statement win for Xavier, and they'll get their chance to prove it in the coming weeks.
2. Musketeers roll out the well-balanced attack
Five Xavier players scored in double digits tonight, led by Matt Stainbrook, Dee Davis and Myles Davis, who each had 13. Jalen Reynolds dropped 12 points before fouling out late in the game, and Trevon Bluiett added 11 to the Musketeers' total. Their offense was tremendous, especially during the final ten minutes of the second half, boasting a well-rounded inside-out attack built around Stainbrook in the lane. The Bulldogs ended up in foul trouble towards the end of the game, and Stainbrook's ability to draw the extra defender and then find the open man opened up tons of space for his team's shooters. Georgetown's bigger inside than Butler is, but if the X can show up like this tomorrow, they're going to be very tough to beat.
3. Alex Barlow brings the heat
Butler's Alex Barlow brought the fire, and Roosevelt Jones doused it in ice. Barlow knocked down five of his 15 attempts from three-point territory, lifting the Bulldogs to a nine-point second half lead while his teammates struggled to get the ball inside offensively. The senior guard also swiped four steals during the game, including a key takeaway to force overtime on Xavier's final possession. On the other hand, Jones had a miserable outing, finishing with just four points on 2-of-9 shooting while coughing up four turnovers. This was an all-time bad game for Jones, including a late-game blunder of a shot on Butler's last possession in the second half. He did grab ten rebounds and dish out four assists, but it's not a coincidence that Jones has shot 33 percent or worse from the field in eight of Butler's ten losses this season.