Xavier's Tu Holloway has been making a habit of coming through in the clutch, almost single-handedly carrying the Musketeers in the final minutes of their last two contests.
While Holloway has been thriving with the game on the line, coach Chris Mack would surely love to see him -- and his teammates -- pick up the pace earlier on.Hoping to get off to a better start, Holloway and the eighth-ranked Musketeers visit Butler on Wednesday night.Five days after helping erase a 10-point second-half deficit and scoring 10 of his 24 points in overtime of an 82-70 win at then-No. 20 Vanderbilt, the senior guard was at it again.Xavier (6-0) trailed by 19 points with just under 10 minutes to go Saturday before Holloway, who had four points at the half, scored 13 over the final 5:10 of a 66-63 come-from-behind victory over Purdue."You've watched me do that for two years," said Holloway, who made three consecutive 3-pointers over the last two minutes and finished with 21 points. "I try to play with my teammates and not be a ball hog, but with one minute to play, I'm going to take the shot."While Mack was certainly pleased with the late-game efforts, he'd prefer to avoid those kind of situations going forward."We have to be able to put ourselves in a much better position in the first half so its a competitive game," Mack said. "Our oldest players have to spread that message to the (other) players around the floor so that we don't have to regroup at halftime in order to be a team that turns it around in the second half."Mark Lyons, averaging 17.3 points, was held to four over the first 20 minutes before finishing with 14 against the Boilermakers.The Musketeers, enjoying their best start since opening 9-0 in 2008-09, committed 18 turnovers in the first half -- two more than their previous season high in a full game.Xavier, though, had only four turnovers after the break."When you just constantly turn the ball over to the other team it's hard to rev your motor up every single time ... we gotta get better at that," Mack said.Xavier has taken six straight on the road by an average of 10.5 points dating to last season. It hasn't won seven in a row as the visiting team since an eight-game run Jan. 18-March 5, 2003.An inability to score consistently continues to plague Butler (4-4), which is averaging 67.5 points and 40.8 percent shooting.The Bulldogs' woeful offense was on display again during a 77-71 overtime loss to Valparaiso on Saturday. Butler shot a season-low 34.3 percent and missed 10 layups."The layups are really disappointing," coach Brad Stevens told the school's official website. "The difference in the game is they finished and we didn't."Senior Ronald Nored, who leads the Bulldogs with 5.4 assists and 2.9 steals per game, scored a career-high 17 points and added six rebounds and six assists before fouling out.Butler may need another big game from Nored if it hopes to avenge last season's loss to the Musketeers.The Bulldogs failed to win their third straight in the series Dec. 9, falling 51-49 at Xavier despite limiting Holloway and Lyons to a combined 19 points and 3-of-21 shooting. The Musketeers lead Butler 29-16 overall.In its lone matchup versus a ranked opponent this season, Butler lost 69-53 to then-No. 8 Louisville on Nov. 19.