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Xavier's NCAA Tournament chances in danger after overtime loss to Butler

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Posted at 7:19 PM, Mar 09, 2022

NEW YORK — Xavier will have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday after an 89-82 loss to Butler in overtime in the first round of the Big East Tournament.

The Musketeers had a 2-point lead with less than 10 seconds left, but an untimely foul by guard Paul Scruggs kept Butler's hopes alive. Scruggs, whose layup gave Xavier a 68-66 lead, sent Simas Lukosius to the free-throw line to tie the game. Scruggs fouled out and the game went to overtime.

Butler led the rest of the way, with Lukosius scoring 10 of the Bulldogs' points in overtime.

Xavier had a 91.7% win probability with one minute left in the game. Free throws may have been the Musketeers' fatal flaw, as Xavier players finished 44.8% from the charity stripe.

Travis Steele's squad appeared to be an NCAA tournament lock at the end of January, but finished the regular season 3-7 with losses to unranked St. John's, Seton Hall and DePaul. Following the Musketeers' blowout loss to Seton Hall Feb. 26, fans at Cintas Center chanted, "Fire Steele."

Joe Lunardi listed Xavier as one of the "last four" teams in the bracket before Wednesday's game. A win over Butler would likely have kept Xavier in the tournament, while a loss puts the Musketeers in danger. Xavier has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2018, when the 1-seed Musketeers lost to Florida State in the second round.

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