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Xavier Makes Huge Comeback to Beat Butler 70-69: Recap

NCAA Basketball: Butler at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier got off to a bit of a rough start, trailing 6-0 with two turnovers after three minutes. After a Steele timeout, the Musketeers responded with a 6-0 run of their own to tie the game.

Xavier pushed their run to 10-0 before Butler responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead 13-10. A Paul Scruggs jumper brought the score to 13-12 with 11:05 remaining in the first half. The teams combined for two points total over the next three minutes, and the score was 15-12 with 8:00 until the end of the first half.

Xavier broke the scoring drought with back to back threes from Scruggs to put Xavier in front, up 18-15. The Musketeers led 23-17 with 3:27 remaining until half, after a dunk off an offensive rebound and three free throws from Tyrique Jones.

A 12-0 run from Butler propelled them to a 31-26 lead at the half. Scruggs led Xavier with 12 points at the half, while Naji Marshall had seven.

Butler came out firing to start the second half, and led 40-31 with 15:52 remaining in the game. Butler got up by as much as 12, but the shots started falling for Xavier. Xavier made four of five shots to cut the deficit to just two, 49-47, with 11:18 left in the game.

A 12-4 run for Butler allowed them to push their lead to double digits, 61-51, with just 6:28 remaining in the game. Butler was able to maintain the lead, and were up 64-54 with 4:00 left in the game.

A 12-2 run by Xavier over the next 2:38 made it a tie game at 66-66 with just 1:22 remaining. Marshall put Xavier up 70-69 with 3.2 seconds left, and a miss by Butler point guard Kamar Baldwin sealed the comeback win for the Musketeers.

Scruggs led the team in scoring, rebounds and assists with 23 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. He also had a block and a steal.

Marshall was second on the team with 14 points. He also chipped in four rebounds and three assists. Kyle Castlin scored 12 points, all in the second half, including a three to tie the game at 69 with 54 seconds remaining. Castlin also had seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal.

Jones finished with nine points, seven rebounds, a block, and a steal. Zach Hankins also had nine points, in addition to six rebounds and a game high three blocks.

The Musketeers outrebounded Butler 40-29 for the game, and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds while limiting Butler to just nine. The Bulldogs had just six second chance points off those rebounds while Xavier had 12.

Xavier also made 19-25 free throws, while Butler only shot 8-12 from the line.

With a win, Xavier improves to 3-2 in conference play. The next game for Xavier comes on the road against Villanova, on Friday, Jan. 18 at 8:30 p.m.