MATTHEW VANTRYON | Asst. Sports Editor
Indiana Pacers stars Paul George, David West and George Hill visited Hinkle Fieldhouse on Tuesday night. Xavier men’s basketball coach Chris Mack jokingly mentioned in his press conference that he wished the trio could suit up for his team.
Brandon Miller likely wishes the same.
The Butler basketball season continued its free fall on Tuesday night, as the Bulldogs (12-12, 2-10) fell flat against Xavier (17-7, 7-4), losing 64-50 in front of a sparse Hinkle crowd.
Butler struggled on the offensive end in the opening half, as the Musketeers gave the Bulldogs very few good looks at the basket.
Junior guard Alex Barlow hit a pair of 3-pointers and led the team with eight points at the halfway point. Khyle Marshall had marginal success inside, scoring six points in the half.
Meanwhile, freshman guard Dee Davis nailed three 3-pointers in the opening half for Xavier. Davis came into the game averaging about seven points per game this season.
Butler found itself within four points as the clock ticked down, but Xavier finished the half on a 5-0 run to take a 31-22 lead into the locker room.
Xavier lost the turnover battle eight to five, but Butler was only able to score four points off the mistakes.
Xavier scorched the nets in the opening minutes. The Musketeers hit 52 percent of their shots heading into the locker room. Butler shot 35 percent from the field.
Butler’s struggles continued as the second half began. Xavier started the half on an 8-0 run to extend its lead to 17.
Butler scored two field goals in the first ten minutes of the half, and Xavier opened the half on a 17-4 run.
The rest of the game followed the same script.
Butler faced as great as a 24-point deficit with 12 minutes to go.
Coach Brandon Miller said his team just didn’t have what it took to win.
“Coming off a three-game road swing where we played good basketball in stretches, tonight we did not play very good basketball,” Miller said. “We had one of those nights where everything we threw up didn’t seem to go in. We didn’t have it.”
Miller labeled it a “perfect storm” that didn’t go his team’s way.
Freshman guard Elijah Brown led Butler with 14 points. Barlow added 11, and freshman forward Andrew Chrabascz finished with seven.
Butler shot 33 percent from the floor, while the Musketeers shot 54 percent.
Butler will try to rebound on Thursday night, as the Bulldogs host No. 18 Creighton. The Bluejays are ranked second in the conference with a 19-4 record.
The Bulldogs will have their hands full stopping All-American Doug McDermott. McDermott averages 25.3 points per game this season and scored 28 points in the January contest.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Hinkle. .Fieldhouse.