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Xavier defeats Butler in Cincinnati

The Musketeers held on late for their 16th win of the year

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Xavier Musketeers improved to 16-5 on Wednesday evening after defeating the Butler Bulldogs, 68-66.

Zach Freemantle loomed large for the Musketeers, leading the way with a game-high 23 points, 16 of which came in the second half.

Xavier surged out to an early double-digit lead but Butler, led by 21 points from the trio of Bryce Golden, Aaron Thompson, and Jayden Taylor, surged back to trail by just three going into the break.

The start of the second half saw Freemantle and Xavier take back over with their lead reaching as many as 14 points with six minutes to play. Butler hung in down the stretch though, and a last second three by Taylor had the Bulldogs fall by just two points to a good Xavier team on the road.

There are no moral victories, though, and Butler is now 11-11 on the season and 4-7 in Big East play with KenPom not projecting the Bulldogs to win another game this season.

Xavier will remain home and return to action Saturday against DePaul, while Butler will host St. John’s on Saturday.