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Butler vs. Xavier recap: Musketeers defeat Bulldogs to open 2016

The Musketeers took care of business against the Bulldogs

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into Saturday's top-10 showdown, everyone knew that either Xavier or Butler would end the day in an 0-2 hole in Big East play.

After all, the Musketeers opened conference play with a big loss to Villanova, while Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.

Both teams headed into Cintas Center in search of a win, but it was the Musketeers that prevailed, defeating Butler by an 87-69 margin.

Here are three things we learned from this game.

Xavier got back to what worked for them

Five Musketeers reached double-digit scoring in this contest, but Xavier was led by senior guard Remy Abell. Abell, who had 14 points in the first half alone, finished with a career-high 21 points on 7-8 shooting, including 3-3 from beyond the arc.

In 10 of their 13 wins this season, Xavier has had four or more players in double figures. It's tough to stop the Musketeers when they are able to get their balanced scoring attack going, which is something they were unable to do in the loss to Villanova.

It was also unknown how the Musketeers would be able to function with the loss of point guard Edmond Sumner. While the loss of Sumner was felt more so from an emotional standpoint on Thursday, there was concern that it might be felt from a basketball standpoint on Saturday. Xavier was able to fight through the loss, though.

Butler's defense is an issue

While this game could be considered an outlier for the Bulldogs, who scored their fewest points of the season on offense while allowing their most points of the season on defense, Butler's defense is starting to become an issue.

The Bulldogs came into Saturday's game with a top 10 offense in the country, per KenPom's AdjO, but their defense was ranked 140th in the nation (8th in the Big East), and that number will likely drop even lower following the loss. There's still time for Butler to turn the defense around, but their lack of size has started to hamper them a bit.

Odds and Ends

  • Butler's Kellen Dunham came into this game having missed his last 23 three-point shots. He went 3-5 from beyond the arc.
  • Dunham, along with Tyler Lewis and Andrew Chrabascz came off the bench for the first time this season for the Bulldogs, with Austin Ethrington, Jordan Gathers, and Kelan Martin starting in their place.
  • Xavier has now won 15 of their last 19 games against Butler.