CINCINNATI (AP) – Butler’s best stretch of the season ended with the Bulldogs getting pushed around and routed on the road.
Myles Davis scored 18 points, and Xavier never trailed during a 73-56 victory over the 19th-ranked Bulldogs on Saturday, Butler’s most lopsided loss of the season.
The Musketeers (18-10, 8-7 Big East) blew the game open at the start of the second half, with Davis hitting a pair of 3s that sparked a 15-6 run. The victory added to their momentum from a 59-57 win over crosstown rival Cincinnati on the Bearcats’ court Wednesday night.
The Musketeers led by as many as 29 points in the second half before turning to their reserves.
“They outplayed us in basically every area,” Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. “Obviously I’ve got to do a better job of getting us prepared for this type of game. They were physical, tough and aggressive, got every loose ball, made every shot they needed to make.
“They imposed their will on us defensively and we certainly didn’t have an answer for them inside.”
Butler (19-8, 9-5) shot only 35 percent from the field and had 14 turnovers. Roosevelt Jones had 14 points.
The Bulldogs had won six of their last seven games, but couldn’t slow the Big East’s top scoring team. Xavier averages 75.8 points per game.
“This is big-time for us,” said Davis, who failed to score during Xavier’s 88-76 loss in Indianapolis on Jan. 10. “It was personal for me, feeling that Butler didn’t get Myles Davis when we played them up there. Everybody brought it today. The energy was amazing.”
Butler went 7 minutes without a field goal in the first half, missing eight consecutive shots. Both head coaches got technical fouls arguing calls during the physical, ragged half. The Musketeers closed with an 8-2 run for a 33-22 lead.
The Bulldogs shot only 24 percent from the field with nine turnovers in the first half. They also had foul trouble: Austin Etherington and Kellen Dunham picked up three apiece. Dunham, who leads the team with 16.8 points per game, managed only three free throws in the half and finished with nine points.
“We didn’t play with effort and energy we needed,” Holtmann said. “Certainly that’s a concern. We didn’t do what has helped us get to this point. We’ll see how we respond to this situation.”
Davis hit two more 3s, and Dee Davis’ three-point play extended Xavier’s lead to 48-28 to open the second half. Dunham picked up his fourth foul during the Musketeers’ decisive 15-6 spurt.
The Bulldogs have struggled offensively without starting forward Andrew Chrabascz, who broke a bone in his right hand and had surgery Monday. He’ll be out for two-to-four weeks. Holtmann said he’ll consider changing his lineup to try to get things going.
Jalen Reynolds and James Farr had 11 rebounds apiece as Xavier scored 36 points in the paint, a turnaround from its loss in Indianapolis a month earlier when the Bulldogs scored 21 points off rebounds.
Xavier: The Musketeers are 4-1 against Top 25 teams, their most wins against ranked teams during the regular season. The 2003-04 team also beat four Top 25 teams, including its run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.
Butler: It was the Bulldogs’ most lopsided defeat since a 59-46 loss to Oklahoma on Nov. 27.
Xavier finishes the regular season at St. John’s, at home against No. 6 Villanova, and at Creighton.
Butler hosts Marquette, plays at DePaul, hosts Georgetown and finishes at Providence.