GAME NOTES: The Butler Bulldogs return home from a three-game road trip in which they lost two of three games, and they'll try to pick things up as they host the Xavier Musketeers in a Big East Conference showdown at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Xavier had lost three consecutive games before a win over Providence, 59-53, snapped the losing streak. Those three losses set the Musketeers back to 6-4 in the Big East standings - three games back of Villanova for the conference lead.
Butler has severely struggled since entering conference play this season. The Bulldogs have dropped two in a row and nine of 11 in the Big East. Butler is coming off a 71-63 defeat at the hands of Georgetown.
Xavier has a solid lead on the all-time series with Butler, 32-17, which includes a 79-68 win over the Bulldogs this season back on Jan. 4. The Musketeers have won 11 of the last 14 meetings.
Xavier was able to hold one of the more well-rounded offenses in the league and one of the top players in the country, Bryce Cotton, to minimal scoring in the Musketeers' victory Saturday. Cotton netted just nine points, and Providence was only able to score 53 in the contest. Justin Martin and Matt Stainbrook each scored 13 points to pace Xavier, while Semaj Christon chipped in 12. The Musketeers shot 43.4 percent from the floor in the contest.
Christon leads the team this season in scoring, netting 16.9 ppg on 49.3 percent shooting from the field. His 91 assists on the year is second only to Dee Davis's 97 total helpers. Stainbrook (11.3 ppg) and Martin (10.6 ppg) are second and third in scoring for the Musketeers, while Stainbrook in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and blocked shots (29).
Georgetown edged out Butler in the Bulldogs' last outing by ever so slightly building on its lead throughout the contest. The Hoyas led by four points at the end of the first half, and added another four to their lead in the second frame. Andrew Chrabascz scored 24 points to lead Butler, while Kellen Dunham added 15 and Khyle Marshall chipped in 10. The Bulldogs shot 42 percent from the floor in the game.
Dunham leads the team in scoring this season with 17.4 ppg on 39.1 percent shooting. His 401 points scored this season are 50 more than Marshall's 351, who checks in at second on the team with 15.3 ppg. Kameron Woods leads the team in rebounding with a 9.1 rpg average, and is tops in blocked shots with 23. Alex Barlow leads the Bulldogs with 78 assists on the year.
Although this reunion between two Big East foes will be played on Butler's home court, the Musketeers are just too strong on both ends of the floor. Led by Christon and Stainbrook, Xavier is a well-rounded squad looking to legitimately make a run at the top conference spot.
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