Butler falls short to Xavier in Big East Tournament game: Beyond the box score

Junior Pierre Brooks led the Bulldogs with 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Photo by Jada Gangazha

SARAH HOHMAN | SPORTS EDITOR | shohman@butler.edu 

No. 8 seed Butler fell to No. 9 Xavier in the first round of the Big East Tournament 76-72 on March 13. 

The Musketeers had the lead for the majority of the game, and Butler could never push ahead. 

Butler had five players in double figures, but could not overcome the combination of Desmond Claude, Dayvion McKnight and Quincy Olivari, who scored 65 of the Musketeers’ 76 points. 

 Xavier will now move onto No. 1 UConn on March 14 at 12 p.m.. 

In a disappointing loss at the Big East Tournament, let’s go beyond the box score. 


This is just one of those games where Xavier wanted it more. Butler caught up, tied the game and even took the lead a few times in the first half, but they could never fight to maintain solid momentum. 

The first-half rebounding was atrocious once again with Butler getting outrebounded 27-12. The Dawgs just had poor play down low on both sides. They were outscored 44-30 in the paint on offense. 

Head coach Thad Matta recognized his team’s struggles around the rim. 

“One of the biggest things in the first half was we could not finish around the rim,” Matta said. “We had some unbelievable looks … We couldn’t catch momentum. We were right there.” 

With all of this considered, Butler also ended the game with 18 turnovers. 12 of those came from starting guards Pierre Brooks and Posh Alexander

NIT bound?

The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) will select teams on March 17 at 9:30 p.m.. Butler has a solid shot in making the tournament even with the loss to Xavier. 

Matta said that he wants more time to coach this team. 

“I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish,” Matta said. “Hopefully we aren’t done playing basketball. I want to keep coaching this team. I would love to go to practice tomorrow.” 

After a disappointing loss, Brooks reflected on his first season with the Bulldogs. 

“I’m really thankful that [Butler] took a chance on me,” Brooks said. “I’m glad that I chose this school. I love to play for Butler. I love everything about the school. I’m thankful that they gave me a chance to come here and showcase my talent.”

Butler will have to wait until March 17 to know their fate in the postseason. 


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