A stellar performance by Kamar Baldwin and an improved defensive effort led Butler to a victory over Xavier at Hinkle Fieldhouse Tuesday. The result was somewhat surprising, since Xavier had won five games in a row coming into the game, while Butler had lost three straight. The game was close the whole way, but the Bulldogs did just enough in the last couple minutes to pull away for the 71-66 win.
The Bulldogs played much more intensely on defense than they have in recent weeks, forcing 15 Xavier turnovers and holding the red-hot Naji Marshall to just ten points on 4-14 shooting. The effort was led by Baldwin and Paul Jorgensen, who combined for nine steals, and Christian David, who had three blocks off the bench.
Baldwin and Jorgensen also led the charge offensively. Baldwin scored 24 points and scored eight points in the last three minutes. Jorgensen scored 19 on seemingly a poor shooting night—although he was 5-11 from three. A special mention again goes out to David, who led the team with four assists. Jorgensen, a senior, was extra emotional and demonstrative in his final regular season home game.
Xavier’s scoring was evenly distributed, but nobody could consistently create opportunities for the Musketeers. Tyrique Jones and Zach Hankins were solid against the Bulldogs’ weak interior, but didn’t pose enough of an offensive threat to overwhelm Butler.
This game likely eliminated any possibility of Xavier earning an NCAA at-large bid, and could be consequential for both teams when it comes to conference tournament seeding. Xavier drops from a third-place tie to a fourth-place tie while Butler moves up to seventh.
Xavier next plays St. John’s on Saturday, March 9 @ 5:00 p.m. ET.
Butler next plays Providence on Saturday, March 9 @ 12:00 p.m. ET.
Xavier: Marshall can’t be kept quiet
The Musketeers recent hot streak was a product, more than anything, of Naji Marshall’s impressive scoring; Marshall had averaged 22.5 points per game in his previous six games. Butler managed to make things difficult for him, especially Christian David. With Marshall struggling, Xavier didn’t seem to have anywhere to turn. While defense and rebounding kept the game close, Xavier ultimately fell. Going forward, the Musketeers either need Marshall to dominate in every game, or for somebody else to step up and score 15+ points.
Butler: Bulldogs may have some juice left
Butler looked completely defeated in its previous game against Villanova, but in this one against Xavier, the Bulldogs looked emotional and determined. Butler played tough defense throughout and make the necessary plays to close the game out at the end. With one more regular season game (vs. Providence) followed by the BIG EAST tournament, the Dawgs may have enought left in the tank to make a run.