Dec. 10, 2010
Xavier (6-2) extended its home winning streak to a school-record-tying 28 games with a 51-49 victory over the Butler Bulldogs (4-4). Mark Lyons converted a pair of free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining to give XU the lead, and Shelvin Mack's 3-point try at the buzzer was no good to give the Musketeers the victory. Kenny Frease led the Musketeers with 12 points, with Tu Holloway chipping in 10. Frease grabbed 10 rebounds, and Holloway dished out 5 assists. The Bulldogs were led by Matt Howard who scored 17 points and Shelvin Mack with 15. Howard and Mack each grabbed 6 rebounds, and Ronald Nored had 5 assists.
Xavier has won 28 straight games at Cintas Center, which is the nation's second-longest home winning streak. Only Kansas (64) has a longer home court winning streak. The last team to defeat the Musketeers at home was Butler, who dealt the Musketeers a 74-63 setback on December 23, 2008. Tonight's victory tied the Xavier record for consecutive home wins, which was accomplished from 1986-88.
Xavier is now 139-17 (.891) all-time at Cintas Center since moving into its on-campus arena for the 2000-01 season. The Musketeers are 69-7 (.908) against non-conference foes during that stretch.
After starting the game 5-for-5 from the field following a Shelvin Mack 3-pointer at 16:14, Butler went ice cold against the XU defense, missing 13 straight field goal attempts during a span of more than 13 minutes. Shelvin Mack ended the drought with a 15-foot bank shot with 2:57 remaining. The Bulldogs finished the half 7-for-22 (.318).
The 51 points for the Musketeers were the fewest points scored by XU in a win since defeating Cincinnati, 50-44 at Shoemaker Center (12-7-02).
Defense prominent tonight as both teams registered their lowest scoring games of season (51-49). Xavier's previous low was 57 points against Seton Hall at the Paradise Jam (11-19-10). Butler's previous low was 65 points at Loyola (12-1-10). Both teams also had their poorest shooting games of the season. XU shot 32.1 percent, eclipsing its previous low of 41.7 percent versus IPFW (11-16-10). Butler shot 31.3 from the field, which was lower than the 33.3 percent it shot against Evansville (11-27-10).
Butler finished 16-of-18 from the free throw line. The Bulldogs were a perfect 16-for-16 before Ronald Nored missed a pair of tosses with 32 seconds remaining. Butler entered the game shooting 68.5 percent from the free throw line for the season.
Kenny Frease recorded his second double-double of the season and the third of his career with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Butler's Matt Howard moved into 11th place alone on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,456 career points. He entered the game tied with Bobby Plump (1954-58). He is now 29 points from becoming one of the top 10 scorers in Bulldog history. Jon Neuhouser (1994-98) currently resides in the 10th position with 1,485 points.
Trailing 12-5 at 16:10 of the first half, XU went on an 11-0 run to take a 16-12 lead at 12:52.
Trailing 41-31 at 11:41 of the second half, Butler went on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 41-39 at 6:53. Shelvin Mack scored 4 points during the run.
Up Next: The Musketeers welcome the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to Cintas Center on Saturday, December 18, at 8:00 p.m. for the second game in the Skip Prosser Classic. Skip spent 15 years at Xavier as both a head coach and assistant, and was head coach at Wake Forest from 2001 until his death in 2007. In the opening game of the series, Wake Forest defeated Xavier in Winston-Salem, 96-92, in double overtime on January 3, 2010. In that contest, the Musketeers battled back from a 10-point second-half deficit to force overtime and saw Ishmael Smith bury a three-pointer with time running out in the first overtime to force a second overtime, before the Demon Deacons finally put the game away. The all-time series between the teams is tied at one game apiece. XU's win in the series was a 87-76 victory on March 15, 1999, at Cincinnati Gardens in the National Invitation Tournament.