It was touch and go there for a minute, but Xavier ended up having an answer for everything that Butler threw at them. Remy Abell was huge at both ends today, chasing Kelli Dunham out of the game while leading the team in scoring for good measure. There was plenty of trepidation among the fanbase coming into this one with Sumner still sidelined, but the team took care of business.
This team can share the load
We've spent a lot of time talking about depth, and this was a chance for Xavier to show it. Today, they did. Remy came out scorching early, but Trevon kicked in some buckets as the first half threatened to tighten up and Jalen scored from the post and from three (obviously). Butler didn't have anyone who could defend driving lanes against Xavier, and the Muskies took advantage with good ball movement and appropriate aggressiveness.
We definitely need Edmond back
Xavier doesn't need to get a ton of fastbreak points to win (obviously), but watching LAJ turn 3-on-1s into turnovers was enough to make you wish for someone explosive enough to outrun Tyler Lewis to the rim. The defensive rebounding and outlets were there for Xavier, but turing them into easy points is always a bonus, at it was just not there often enough today.
This is a resilient, tough ball club
Xavier ran out to a big lead in the first half, but Butler cut it to three with 2:46 left in the half. Xavier responded with a 7-0 run to close the half and run the lead back out to ten. Then Butler chipped away early in the second half to cut it to three with 12:29 left in the game. JP got a second-chance bucket, James got a dunk, then Kaiser stepped into and drained a rhythm three. By the time it was all over, Sean O'Mara was polishing off a 13-1 run from the line and burying the game in the meantime. Xavier will move to 1-1 in conference play by knocking off a top 10 opponent despite missing one of the best players on the roster.