INDIANAPOLIS (AP)Sean McDermott scored 14 points to lead No. 19 Butler to a 66-61 victory over Xavier on Wednesday night.
Kamar Baldwin added 11 points and Jordan Tucker scored 10 for the Bulldogs (19-6, 7-5 Big East).
Naji Marshall scored 20 points to lead the Musketeers (16-9, 5-7). Tyrique Jones had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Xavier, his 17th double-double.
Butler shot 47% and Xavier went 44% from the field.
Bulldogs guard Aaron Thompson took an elbow to the head and went to the floor with Butler leading 42-25. He left the game and did not return.
Xavier followed with an 11-0 spurt, delighting a vocal contingent of Musketeers fans. Butler’s Derrik Smits finally ended the drought with a basket.
Jordan Tucker’s back-to-back 3s helped Bulldogs rebuild their lead to 14 points at 57-43. Xavier closed the gap to 59-53 with 3:11 left. That’s as close as Xavier got until Marshall’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Butler’s Henry Baddley, who was averaging 2.2 points entering the game, hit all three of his 3-point attempts in the first half to finish with nine points.
Butler led 32-23 at halftime.
Leading 27-16, the Bulldogs went more than five minutes without scoring as the Musketeers closed the deficit to 27-23. Butler then scored the final five points of the half.
Xavier: Two games under .500 in Big East play, the Musketeers will need to finish strong to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.
Butler: The Bulldogs’ victory might be costly if they lose Thompson for any length of time. Butler did not play well when he missed three games earlier this season.
Smits, son of former Indiana Pacers center Rik Smits, had to be helped off the floor with an apparent knee injury. Smits missed the first 10 games this season with a knee injury.
Xavier plays at St. John’s Monday night. Xavier won the teams’ first meeting, 75-67.
Butler faces visiting Georgetown Saturday. The Bulldogs won at Georgetown 69-64 on Jan. 28.
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