Xavier holds off upset-minded Butler behind scoring of Zach Freemantle

Zach Freemantle

02.02.22

Freemantle finishes 7-of-8 on two point field goals

CINCINNATI – Zach Freemantle scored a game-high 23 points to lead No. 21 Xavier to a 68-66 win over Butler at Cintas Center on Wednesday night.

The Musketeers led by as many as 15 points in the second half before a late Butler run pulled the Bulldogs within two possessions in the final minutes. Three late free throws sealed the win for the Xavier and the Musketeers picked up a second win against Butler for the season, moving to 16-5 on the season and 6-4 in BIG EAST play.

FIRST HALF RECAP

  • Butler jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Xavier went on a 10-3 run to take its first lead, 10-8, with 13:34 remaining before halftime.
  • After the Bulldogs tied the game at 10-10, Xavier scored eight straight to go in front 18-10 with just under 10 minutes to play in the half.
  • Xavier would lead by as many as 10, 22-12, before Butler went on an 11-2 run, pulling within one.
  • After a Dwon Odom jumper, a BU three tied the game, 26-26, with under a minute to play but Jerome Hunter connected on a three on Xavier’s final possession, the first Musketeer three of the game, to send the Musketeers into the locker room up 29-26.
  • Zach Freemantle led the Musketeers with seven points. Jerome Hunter and Adam Kunkel each added five. 
  • Kunkel also had five rebounds, leading Xavier to a 18-16 advantage on the boards in the first half.
  • Dwon Odom dished out four points in 13 minutes of action after Paul Scruggs picked up two fouls in the first five minutes of the game.

SECOND HALF RECAP

  • Butler scored the opening basket to get within one, 29-28 before the Musketeers went on an 8-0 run over the next three minute to take a 37-28 lead with just over 15 minutes to play. During that stretch, Butler turned the ball over four times, leading to six Xavier points.
  • Xavier extended its lead out to as many as 15 in the first 10 minutes of the second half, going ahead 49-34.
  • The Musketeers maintained double-digit lead until the final five minute of the game, when a 7-0 Butler run brought the Bulldogs to within seven, 60-53.
  • Four straight Xavier points pushed it back to an 11-point lead with two minutes to play, but Butler outscored Xavier 8-1 over the next minute to make it a four point game.
  • Three Xavier free throws gave Xavier a two-possession cushion, but Butler scored five points in the final 12 seconds to set the final score 68-66 in favor of the Musketeers.
  • Zach Freemantle had 16 second half points, connecting on 6-of-7 field goals, including going 2-of-2 from three.
  • Jack Nunge grabbed five rebounds to lead Xavier but the Musketeers were out-rebounded 20-14 in the second half.
  • Xavier held an 8-2 advantage on turnovers in the second half, leading to a 10-2 advantage on points off miscues.

NOTABLES

  • Zach Freemantle led all scorers with 23 points, shooting 9-of-13 from the floor and connecting on a pair of threes. His 23 points were just one off his season high.
  • This marked only the second time this season that Xavier has only had one double-figure scorer. The other time was in the win vs. Virginia Tech on Nov. 26 when Nate Johnson scored 30 points.
  • Xavier connected on just 3-of-17 three pointers but finished with 40 points in the paint.
  • Adam Kunkel and Jack Nunge each grabbed seven rebounds but Butler finished with a 36-32 advantage on the boards. Kunkel’s total is a new collegiate career high.
  • Xavier only committed eight turnovers compared to 11 for Butler, out-scoring the Bulldogs 12-4 on points off turnovers.

NEXT UP FOR THE MUSKETEERS

The Musketeers remain at home for the next match-up hosting DePaul on Saturday, February 5. Tip-off with the Blue Demons is set for 2:00 p.m. on FS1.

COURTESY XAVIER ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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