The Xavier Musketeers are now 16-5 (6-4). To win this game, they pulled up like vintage Usain Bolt crossing the line. After 30 minutes of basketball the Musketeers were up 13 and cruising away from a Butler team that, frankly speaking, sucks. At that point X decided to take the foot off the proverbial gas and ease into the locker room. It didn’t matter, because Butler is really bad, but it did probably cost a few degenerates out there some money.
Zach Freemantle looked back
Freemantle (23/4/0) was excellent in the second half on Saturday and he carried that into this game. Big Frosty dominated whichever of Butler’s mediocre bigs they threw at him, hustled everywhere, campaigned for technical fouls to be called on Butler players, and made funny faces. In short, he looked like a slightly goofy all Big East player, which is what he is.
The three point shooting is back, but not in a good way
3-17 isn’t good enough to beat most teams. Jerome Hunter (8/3/1) stepped back into a three and Freemantle hit two. That’s it and that’s all. X needs to get this sorted, and soon. Nate Johnson (4/1/1) was 0-5 and looked like he was really questioning his shot as the game went on.
Xavier’s depth mattered
Adam Kunkel (7/7/0) led the team in rebounding, Jerome Hunter posted a 116 offensive rating, and Dwon Odom (4/2/3) played his second straight game without a turnover. The Musketeers getting production off their bench helped on a night where everything worked except the starting lineup making threes.
Lavall Jordan should prepare a resume and leave this stint off it
Butler is really bad. Jordan now has all of his own players and only Chuck Harris and Jayden Taylor really look like a Big East calber players. The Bryces down low are softer than melted butter, Aaron Thompson is both a wanker and can’t shoot a lick, and the rest of the team is entirely forgettable. Butler picked up two really stupid technicals in a game that came down to one possession. Despite the final score, the Bulldogs never really felt like they were in this game. Jordan hasn’t installed an offense that worked, and has taken Butler from 20th in the KenPom when he was hired to 132nd now. That’s what a bad hire looks like.
Colby Jones is quietly struggling
In conference play Jones (7/3/4) has an offensive efficiency of 96.5. Tonight again he just couldn’t quite get it clicking. Getting slapped in the face by Jerome Hunter likely didn’t help, but Colby hasn’t had a notably good game since the win over DePaul. Xavier needs their sophomore star to get back in gear as February gets going.
A win is a win
Xavier didn’t look dominant tonight, but they won comfortably. Last Wednesday, Butler ripped Creighton apart and won by 17. They won again this weekend. This game was done and dusted at halftime. The lowest Xavier’s win probability hit in the second half was 88% with 17 minutes to play. From there, the Musketeers just held the Bulldogs at arm length with a game that looked like a measured yawn. It wasn’t an awe inspiring win but, against this team, it didn’t have to be.