Men’s basketball: Offense stalls in loss to Xavier

Hawaii is the next destination for the Butler men’s basketball team, as the Bulldogs will compete in the Maui Invitational beginning Monday.

The tournament is a staple of the college basketball season. This year’s field includes high-profile programs such as North Carolina, Texas and Illinois.

The Bulldogs (1-0) will play Marquette in the opening round of the tournament on Monday at 3:30 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

The Golden Eagles advanced to the Sweet 16 in last season’s NCAA Tournament.

That squad finished second in the Big East with a 14-4 conference record and a 26-7 overall mark.

Marquette was picked to finish 7th in this year’s Big East preseason coaches’ poll. The squad will be without Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, who left for the NBA after their senior seasons last year.

Butler is 13-14 all-time against the Golden Eagles, with the last meeting between the teams occurring in 1991.

The Bulldogs’ position in the bracket has them slated to play either the University of North Carolina or Mississippi State on Tuesday.

Butler could not overcome a seven-point halftime deficit as they were defeated 62-47 by Xavier.

The Bulldogs (1-1) were down 36-29 entering the second half but were unable overcome their poor shooting.

The Musketeers’ (2-0) defense limited Butler to shoot only 25 percent from the field after halftime.

The Bulldogs were held to shooting 22.2 percent (4 for 18) from behind the three-point line for the game.

Freshman guard Kellen Dunham led Butler with 11 points and senior center Andrew Smith added nine points and four rebounds.

Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones grabbed seven rebounds in the loss.

Butler gained some momentum heading into the tournament with a 74-59 win over Elon Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The contest was Butler’s regular-season opener and served as an opening-round game of the Maui Invitational.

Senior guard Rotnei Clarke showed no signs of rust as he scored the Bulldogs’ first 12 points of the game. The game was Clarke’s first as a member of the Bulldogs.

Clarke scored a game-high 21 points and displayed his outside shooting by going five-for-10 from 3-point range.

Butler took an early lead, shooting 61.5 percent from the field in the first half.

The Bulldogs were up 43-26 at halftime, but the Phoenix (0-1) cut the lead to four within the first seven minutes of the second half.

Butler answered with a 15-2 run spurred by 3-point baskets from Clarke and freshman guard Kellen Dunham.

“I’ve said all along this team is capable of going on 6-0 and 9-0 runs, and they did and kind of separated the game back when it got to four,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “It was Rotnei for one and Kellen for another, and now it was ten in a matter of seconds.”

Dunham provided the Bulldogs with 18 points in his first collegiate game, shooting 37.5 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Butler held a strong rebounding advantage, grabbing 39 rebounds to Elon’s 20.

Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs with nine rebounds and six assists while sophomore guard Alex Barlow grabbed seven rebounds.

Meanwhile, freshman guard Chris Harrison-Docks announced last Friday that he is leaving the team and will transfer elsewhere.

“I believe that another school would better compliment me both personally and athletically,” Harrison-Docks said in a statement released by the athletic department.

The Okemos, Mich. native played briefly in Butler’s two exhibition games, scoring two points off of free throws in the contest against the University of Indianapolis.


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