Sean McDermott scored 14 points, Kamar Baldwin added 11 and Jordan Tucker finished with 10 to lead a balanced attack as No. 19 Butler avoided an upset with a 66-61 win over Xavier on Wednesday night in Indianapolis.
The Bulldogs (19-6, 7-5 Big East) shot 47.2 percent (25 of 52) from the field, including 38.1 percent on 3-pointers (8 of 21), but endured several cold spells while improving to 12-2 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Musketeers (16-9, 5-7) outscored Butler 38-34 in the second half, with Naji Marshall scoring a game-high 20 points to go with seven assists and seven rebounds. Tyrique Jones had a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards.
Aaron Thompson scored four straight points and Tucker added a layup to give the Bulldogs a 42-25 lead early in the second half. Tucker drilled two 3-pointers in a three-possession span to pad the lead to 57-34 with 5:50 remaining.
Marshall helped bring the Musketeers back in the game, scoring four points in a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 57-50. Xavier clamped down on defense, holding Butler without a field goal for just over three minutes to slice the margin to 61-55 on a basket by Marshall.
Baldwin had a key block and added a step-back jumper to give the Bulldogs some breathing room at 64-55 with 1:13 left.
Both teams finished the game with only nine turnovers. The rebounding battle was also a tie (29-29).
After Xavier built a 7-2 lead in the first three minutes, the Bulldogs reeled off a 23-7 run to seize a 25-14 lead on Henry Baddley's 3-pointer.
Butler made 6 of 14 3-pointers and turned the ball over just four times in the opening half.
The Bulldogs were dealt a pair of tough blows, when Thompson left the game with an apparent head injury and sat out the rest of the game. Derrik Smits also suffered a left knee injury late in the second half and did not return.
--Field Level Media