Abell Shines in Musketeers 88-69 victory over Butler
Remy Abell scored 21 points a career high, and Trevon Blueitt chipped in 13 points and 5 rebounds as the Xavier Musketeers stayed unbeaten at home with an 88-69 win against the visiting Butler Bulldogs Saturday afternoon at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jalen Reynolds finished the game with 13 points and 8 rebounds, while James Farr had 4 blocks to go along with 8 points and 10 rebounds for the Musketeers (13-1,1-1) getting the win coming off a 31 point loss on the road against Big East rival Villanova Wildcats Thursday night. Edmond Sumner who suffered a head injury in the Villanova game wasn’t available to play against the Butler Bulldogs (11-3, 0-2). Sumner who averages 11 points a game is currently in the concussion protocol with no one knowing his status for the next game.
Xavier led by 12 points with under 9 minutes remaining in the first half after forward Jalen Reynold hit a step back three that gave the Musketeers a 29-17 lead.
Butler’s Andrew Chrabascz would silence the crowd with the answer three on the next possession that cut the lead back to nine at 29-20 with 8:31 remaining the first half. Xavier would then switch their defense from man to man to a 1-3-1 zone defense, which would cause the Bulldogs to go on a mini-run. The Bulldogs Kellen Dunham would hit a fadeaway three in the corner with the shot clocking winding down bringing Butler within 3 points at 34-31 with 4:13 remaining in the first half. Xavier’s Larry Austin Jr. and Kaiser Gates provided energy off the bench and hustle play allowed the Muskies to take a ten point lead into the half at 45-35.
Remy Abell opened the second half with a layup at the rim for two more of his game-high 21 points to push the lead to 47-35 with 19:48 on the clock in the 2nd half. Remy started the game on fire going 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from behind the arch. He finished the game shooting 7 of 8 from the field 4 of 5 from the foul line and 3 of 3 from behind the three-point line. Butler led by Kellen Dunham’s 13 points in 26 minutes and Kelan Martins 11 points and 7 rebounds couldn’t get any closer than 3 points as Xavier would stretch their second-half lead to 18 points leading 79-61 after the one-handed slam by Jalen Reynolds with 3:49 remaining. Remy Abell would later seal the victory for the Muskies at the 2:49 mark after pushing the lead to 20 with his third three of the game to finish perfect from downtown.
“Hard work pays off.” Remy Abell after the game. “I know my offense wasn’t going well, but I always been team first, so we been winning games, so I have no complaints at all. My teammates and coaches did a good job believing in me and trusting me, telling me to keep shooting, and they were falling down tonight.”
Xavier finished as a team shooting 56.4 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from three-point range. They also shot over 70 percent from the foul line on 16 of 22 shooting, while having 10 blocks and 18 assists in the process.
Xavier will travel to Carnesecca Arena in Jamaica, New York to take on St. John’s (7-7) on Jan. 6, 2016 at 9 PM ET. Butler will try to get it’s first Big East win on the road against the Depaul Blue Demons (6-7) on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, at 8 pm ET. at All-State Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.