After surrendering a three on the first possession of the second half, Xavier went on a 14-6 run to take a two-point lead. From there on out, Butler did everything better than Xavier and steadily pulled away with the game. This program under Chris Mack is vocal about defining itself by effort on the glass and tough defense; they featured neither today. Butler had a 71.5% DReb% and a 47.2% OReb%. That's right, the Bulldogs came one board short of rebounding half of their own misses. Sometimes it's a mystery why Xavier is so bad on the road; today it was crystal clear. That kind of effort on the glass will lose you the game 100% of the time.
The defense, though not helped out by the rebounding, wasn't that much better. Despite Remy Abell doing his utmost to make Kellen Dunham take up the oboe, Xavier allowed Butler to shoot 25-51/6-15/32-42 (or .490/.400/.762 if you prefer). That is with their leading scorer shooting just 2-7/0-1/6-6 and being locked down by Remy. Second chance points due to Xavier's horrible rebounding were part of it, but too many easy looks outside and uncontested drives to the middle characterized Xavier's defensive "efforts" today.
It's hard to find any positives after that display, but Matt Stainbrook looked like his usual self on offense for the first time in a while. He had 4 at the half but ended the game with 21/5/2 on 8-12/0-0/5-6 shooting. Butler ran a lot of different looks at him in the second half, but he held up well and made mostly good decisions with good execution. Xavier's 5-18 from behind the arc as a team really supressed his assist numbers, as he had a number of kicks to open shooters.
Remy Abell continues to be the best player on the team. In addition to completely erasing Kellen Dunham from the game, he had 15/4/0 with only 1 turnover on 3-5/2-4/7-8 shooting. He was visibly won down from his defensive effort at times, but that line speaks to how effective and efficient he was on the offensive end despite that. He was the only player on the floor for Xavier with consistently high effort on both ends.
Dee Davis shot more than he probably needed to, going 5-13/1-5/0-0 on his way to 11/2/8 with only 2 turnovers. He did a good job of finding open players and setting them up for baskets, but his love for driving into traffic that he could not hope to score from is befuddling. I don't have a problem with him taking open threes even though they weren't falling for him today. Of course, he was also tasked with defending Alex Barlow, who went for 15/5/2 on 4-8/3-4/4-4 shooting.
Xavier had a chance to take over the game early, as they were within a possession of Butler with eight minutes to go in the first half and three Butler starters already on the bench with two fouls. It didn't happen though, and the Bulldogs even managed to go into the half with a three-point lead. Once that opportunity was lost, Xavier was always fighting uphill to get back into the game.
I've gotta question a little bit the wisdom of having Matt Stainbrook on Andrew Chrabascz all game. Chrabascz was scoring from outside and with face-up moves that Stainbrook is not well-equipped to stop. Meanwhile, Kameron Woods was dominating the glass on his way to 9/10/0. I'm not 100% sure putting Farr/Reynolds on Chrabascz and Stainbrook on Woods would have turned things around, but it's hard to imagine how it could have made things worse.
Odds and ends:
-James Farr had 9/6/1 on 2-3/1-1/4-6 shooting. I don't know if he's "back" or what, but this was good to see.
-Jalen Reynolds was unstoppable (because of course he was) before fouling out (because of course he did).
-Larry Austin saw some time but did not accumulate any stats. If Brandon Randolph played, I didn't see him out there.
-There were 48 fouls called in this game, leading to 67 free throws. #RefShow
-"Our deacons' retreat got cancelled, so I should be live."
-"Remy on Dunham?"
-"I don't get Farr."
-"Gotta have the layups."
-"Austin, Jr. first off the bench for Dee? Doesn't look good for whatever his name is; number 3."
-"Sweet Music can't play defense at all."
-"Sad. JP and Sweet Music did absolutely nothing that half."
-"Stain Train is getting going again."
-"We are getting whipped on the boards."
-"Refs must be getting paid by the call."
-"11:49 left. This one is over, write it down."
-"We are aware that play at both ends is required, right?"
-"The swagger we had against Northern Arizona is gone."
-"Beaten in every aspect of the game."
-"Oh good, Villanova is next."
-"We need another point guard; nobody can spell Dee."
-"That's two hours I'll never get back."
That's it from me. Looking forward to that Villanova game in the mid-week.