CINCINNATI - Jeff Robinson powered the Xavier Musketeer men's basketball team to a 62-47 win over the Butler Bulldogs at Cintas Center, Tuesday afternoon. Robinson had a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds.
Xavier currently holds a 31-16 all-time series lead over Butler, including wins in 10 of the last 12 contests and three straight. The two teams will meet again Saturday, March 9 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Musketeers improve to 2-0 for the season while Butler drops to 1-1.
Travis Taylor tallied his 1,000th career-point with 7:35 left in the second half. He finished with 15 points from 7-of-10 shooting from the field, nine rebounds, and tied a career-high with three assists. Robinson fired 7-of-13 from the field to go along with two steals.
After missing the game against Fairleigh Dickinson due to illness, freshman Semaj Christon had a game-high eight assists and added two points in the winning effort. Justin Martin had a strong showing with 10 points and three points.
Brad Redford and Dee Davis each played lock down defense on Butler's leading scorer Rotnei Clarke. They held him to seven points from 3-of-11 shooting from the field and 1-of-7 from long range. Clarke made scored 21 points and was 5-of-10 from deep in his home opener against Elon.
Redford had nine points and has made nine of his eleven three point attempts so far this season. Davis dropped nine points as well, and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Strong defense by the Musketeers early in the second half prevented the Bulldogs to make easy buckets. Butler was held to 1-of-9 (11.1 percent) shooting from the field and in their first 10 possessions in the second half. XU possessed a 43-32 edge with 13:10 remaining in the contest.
The Bulldogs finished the second half shooting 25 percent (7-of-28) and 36.5 percent (19-for-52) for the game. Xavier fired 50 percent (23-for-46) for the game. Butler had the edge in rebounding, 31-29, while Xavier outscored BU 26-22 in the paint.
The Musketeers never lost the lead and were only tied twice. The last time XU was tied with BU was with 13:23 remaining in the first half, when the score was tied 9-9.
With 11:53 left in the second half, Xavier started to separate itself from Butler with a 46-33 lead. Redford pumped faked Butler's Rotnei Clarke in the left corner them fired away to drain his second three of the game.
Xavier started to run away with its lead as it opened up a 57-37 edge with 5:09 remaining in the second half. The Musketeers used an 11-2 run to capture their largest lead to that point. Martin added two free-throws and an open jumper after he stripped the ball away from a defender in the left corner.
Robinson helped Xavier enter intermission with a 36-29 lead. Robinson led all scorers at half with 12 points from 5-of-8 shooting from the field.
Christon dished out four assists in 15 minutes in the first half. Taylor was second on the team in the first half with eight points and three assists, including 4-for-5 from the field.
XU kept BU off the free throw line in the first half as the Bulldogs were only 2-for-4 from the charity stripe, while the Musketeers were a perfect 5-for-5. Xavier shot 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the field, compared to Butler's 50 percent (12-of-24). Points in the paint were about even through the first half, with a slight 18-16 lead going to the Musketeers.
Xavier pressured the ball well to start the game and was able to force three turnovers within the first 4:13 of the game. XU took an early 6-2 lead with 17:02 left in the first half. Butler used a 7-2 run to tie the game 9-9 with 13:23 remaining.
The Musketeers responded quickly with a 12-2 run of their own stretching for 2:27. During the run Robinson made a breakaway layup and-one. XU led 21-11 midway through the first half. Robinson reached double digits with 8:16 left in the first half.
Xavier grabbed a 28-18 edge over Butler with 6:28 remaining in the second half. Redford dropped a three-pointer in the right corner then was followed by an open jam by Taylor.
The Musketeers continued to stretch their lead with 4:50 left in the first half, leading 32-18. The 14 point edge was the largest lead the Musketeers all half. XU went on a 6-0 run, highlighted by two breakaway layups. Robinson and Christon each contributed points on the streak.
However, the Bulldogs used an 11-2 run late in the first half to close the gap to 34-29 with :54 remaining.
Kellen Dunham was the only Bulldog to score in double figures with a team-high 11 points.