March 13, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)
Toughness key in Muskies’ overtime victory
The Xavier Musketeers’ 67-61 overtime victory over the No. 22 Butler Bulldogs was won with toughness and grit in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament held in Madison Square Gardens last night. With the win the Muskies’ advanced to play the Georgetown Hoyas in the Semi-Finals tonight.
“It seems like every time we play Butler here over the last five or six years, they’re just gritty games,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said.
Matt Stainbrook provided another double double for the Musketeers (20-12) with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the win, while Jalen Reynolds contributed 12 points and 6 rebounds in the overtime thriller last night. But two huge AND 1 plays were the biggest plays of the game made by Xavier’s guard Dee Davis and forward Jalen Reynolds.
The first play came with the game tied at 53 with 4:30 remaining in overtime. Musketeers guard Dee Davis drove the lane and hit a tough floating left hand finger-roll layup after being fouled by Butler Bulldogs (22-10) guard Kellen Dunham. This foul would send Kellen to the bench with 5 fouls. Dunham would foul out of the game with 17 points for the Bulldogs.
Davis would covert the free throw giving Xavier a three-point lead and some much-needed momentum in the extra period of play.
On the ensuing possession, Butler’s Alex Barlow who finished the game with 22 points and 4 rebounds hit one of his five three-pointers on the night to tie the ball game again at 56-56 with 3:27 remaining in the overtime period.
“My teammates did a great job finding me. I kind of got in a rhythm in the first half a bit,” Barlow said.
The next huge AND 1 play would come from Xavier’s forward sophomore Jalen Reynolds assisted by senior guard Dee Davis. Jalen would make the tough layup and convert the free throw giving the Musketeers a 59-56 lead with 3:22 remaining in OT.
Trevon Bluiett would hit some free-throws down the stretch and Myles Davis with seal the win for Xavier after coming up with a 50/50 ball and finishing with a lay-up at the rim to give the Musketeers a 5 point lead with 1:08 remaining.
The Musketeers improved to 1-3 in overtime games this season and with the win they will have a chance to advance to a Big East Tournament Championship game if they pull out another tough victory tonight against the Georgetown Hoyas.
“I think any time you play a team that has a lot of familiarity with each other, it’s bone on bone,” Holtmann said. “It comes down to, can you make free throws? Can you take care of the ball a little bit better? Xavier did a better job than us tonight.”
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