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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Xavier Bounces Back Against Butler

Xavier fell of its high horse on Thursday and bruised their sixth ranked ego.

Two days after Villanova humbled the Musketeers 95-64 in Philadelphia, Xavier (13-1, 1-1 Big East) took down long time rival the Butler Bulldogs 88-69.

Xavier now owns and all-time record of 36-18 over Butler (11-3, 0-2 Big East).

Remy Abell picked up the slack for the injured freshman Edmond Sumner, who was hurt early in the game against Villanova.

Abell scored a career-high 21 points with 3-for-3 from long range. Abell led a cast of five players who scored in double figures and on player who rebounded in double digits.

"I am happy for Remy," said Xavier coach Chris Mack, who was equally thrilled that his team rebounded in the fashion it did after the nightmare in Philadelphia.  "Remy is a kid that never changed expression. He always has a smile on his face. Even when he is having trouble on offense, he always gives all he has on the defensive end."

The Xavier defense bothered the visiting Bulldogs.

"They  are hard nosed and made life difficult for us," Butler senior Kellen Dunham said. "We wanted to set a better tone. We have to do a much better job."

Dunham did not start because he had been in a shooting slump that forced his coach Chris Holtermann to alter his starting lineup.

Butler is 0-2 on the Big East in spite of its rightful place in the AP poll at number nine.

"We are just not the team we need to be now," said Holtermann after his team also lost at home on Thursday to Providence 81-73. The 73 points was a season low until now..

"I was happy to see some shots fall but it wasn't enough. I was shooting with the expectations that they will go in. They are going to go in. I have confidence the rest of the year." Both teams knew they had to rebound on a short turnaround.

"It was a tough turnaround for both teams," Mack said. "Most importantly we responded with energy. We beat a good team that doesn't give an inch. It is the character of those guys in our locker room. Coaches tend to hold on to the negative things longer.  It is a credit to our team's resiliency that they responded the way they did. Their resiliency is outstanding."

Jalen Reynolds and Trevon Bluiett backed Abell up with 13 points each.  Myles Davis scored 10 and none of the points were bigger than his 3-point shot at the end of the first half that gave Xavier a 45-35 halftime lead. Freshman Kaiser Gates, who earned more playing time with the absence of Sumner, scored 10 points. James Farr cleared the boards with a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Bulldogs closed the gap to three on a 3-point shot by Dunham with 12:29 left in the game. Dunham had gone four games without a making a 3-point shot (0-for-21) in his last for games and was just 2-for-32 in his last five contests.

Dunham was 3-for-5 against the Musketeers.

"I was happy to see some shots fall but it wasn't enough. I was shooting with the expectations that they will go in. They are going to go in. I have confidence the rest of the year," Dunham said.

Rosevelt Jones led Butler with 14 points one more than Dunham. Kelan Martin scored 11. Tyler Lewis and Andrew Chrabascz contributed 10 but Bulter's 69 points is a season low mark in spite of Lewis' 3-pointer that beat the final buzzer.

Xavier can hold its head up as they travel to New York to play St. John's on Wednesday.  Butler will challenge DePaul on Tuesday in Chicago.

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