INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Trevon Bluiett scored 17 of his 26 points in the final 14½ minutes of regulation and overtime Tuesday night to help No. 5 Xavier rally to beat Butler 98-93.
Kerem Kanter added 22 points, including the go-ahead basket with 2:56 left in overtime, which started the decisive 5-0 run. The Musketeers (22-3, 10-2 Big East) have won seven straight overall and three in a row in the series.
Kelan Martin had 34 points and Sean McDermott finished with 17 to lead the Bulldogs (17-8, 7-5), whose four-game winning streak was snapped.
Just barely, though, in a topsy-turvy game.
Butler erased an 18-point first-half deficit and led 62-56 with 9:13 to go when Bluiett, playing his final college game in his hometown, turned it up. He scored eight points in a 16-6 spurt that gave Xavier a 72-68 cushion.
But the Bulldogs clawed out of a seven-point hole in a 46-second span to tie it at 84 on Kamar Baldwin’s 3-pointer with 13 seconds to go.
Kanter’s layup in overtime gave Xavier an 89-88 lead, and Bluiett scored the next six points for the Musketeers, who held on.
Xavier: Bluiett may have saved the day for the Musketeers, but he had plenty of help. Naji Marshall scored 15 points and had six rebounds. Sean O’Mara tied a season high with 14 points. And once again, Xavier matched up well enough to win at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Butler: The Bulldogs were close to pulling off a stunning comeback for their second straight home win over a Top 5 team. Instead, they gave up 84 points in regulation and another 14 in overtime, and it’s clear the defense needs to continue to improve before the NCAA Tournament.
Xavier: Visits Creighton on Saturday.
Butler: Goes for a season sweep Saturday at No. 1 Villanova.
More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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