INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Adam Kunkel scored 25 points off the bench to lead No. 22 Xavier past Butler 87-72 on Friday night.
Kunkel sank 8 of 12 shots, including 5 of 8 3-point shots for the Musketeers (12-2, 2-1 Big East). Paul Scruggs contributed 16 points — including 9 of 9 free throws — seven rebounds and six assists for Xavier.
Aaron Thompson scored 20 and Bryce Golden 19 points for Butler (8-6, 1-2 Big East).
The Musketeers shot 60.7% en route to a 42-31 halftime lead. The Bulldogs made 50% from the field, and the difference was 3-point shooting. Xavier made 6 of 11 while the Bulldogs missed 8 of 9 3-point shots.
Butler trimmed the lead to 46-40 in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the first half, but Xavier followed with five unanswered points. The Bulldogs cut the deficit to seven twice but could get no closer.
Xavier shot 55% overall and Butler 50%. The Musketeers sank 10 of 22 from 3-point range while the Bulldogs were 5 of 21.
Xavier: The Musketeers didn’t show much rust after coming off a 17-day layoff due to COVID-19 issues involving opponents Connecticut and Georgetown. … Xavier took the lead at 12-9 on a Colby Jones’ 3-pointer and held it the rest of the way.
Butler: The Bulldogs, who entered the game 11th in the Big East in scoring, could use some offensive help. … Bo Hodges, who averaged 8.2 points last season but hasn’t played this season because of knee injury, was supposed to be ready to go soon. However, coach LaVall Jordan said before the game that Hodges suffered a small setback in practice and wasn’t available Friday. … Tyler Groce missed his second consecutive game because of COVID-19 protocols.
With this being Xavier’s only game of the week, the Musketeers will likely maintain their ranking.
Xavier: Hosts No. 19 Villanova on Wednesday.
Butler: At Georgetown on Thursday to start a stretch of three road games.
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