NEW YORK – Jack Nunge’s 24 points led four Musketeers in double figures as the No. 8 seed Xavier battled through overtime, but fell to No. 9 seed Butler, 89-82, in the BIG EAST Tournament opening round at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday evening.
Nunge’s 24 points mark his sixth 20-plus point performance. Paul Scruggs added 15, and Colby Jones and Zach Freemantle added 14, with Freemantle finishing with a double-double as Xavier moved to 18-13 on the season.
FIRST HALF RECAP
- The Musketeers took the 4-0 lead, and built a lead out to as many as five in the first eight minutes of the game.
- With Xavier up 10-5, Butler went on a 9-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 14-12, with 10 minutes to play in the half.
- The Bulldogs held on to the lead until the Musketeers held the Bulldogs scoreless for over five minutes, going on an 8-0 run to go ahead 24-18, the largest lead for either team to that point.
- A pair of Butler three’s helped the Bulldogs go on an 8-2 run to send the game into the half tied, 26-26.
- Jack Nunge led the Musketeers with eight points, going 4-of-6 from the floor.
- Zach Freemantle added six points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
- Xavier had a 23-20 advantage on the boards in the first half.
- Xavier shot 37.5 percent from the floor but went 0-7 from three in the first half while Butler shot 30 percent overall but connected on 3-13 threes. The Musketeers held a 20-10 advantage on points in the paint.
SECOND HALF RECAP
- Xavier used a 7-2 run, capped by a a three for Paul Scruggs to retake a five-point lead to open the second half before a 10-2 Butler run erased the lead and put the Bulldogs in front.
- The two teams traded leads until six straight Butler points put the Bulldogs up five, 52-47, with nine minutes to play in regulation.
- A 10-2 Xavier run featuring six points from Colby Jones, put the Musketeers back in front and extended the Xavier lead out to as many six going into the final minute of the second half.
- Butler’s Chuck Harris put together a personal 6-0 run to tie the game in the final 30 seconds. Paul Scruggs hit a go-ahead bucket with under five seconds remaining but a pair of BU free throws put the tame in a 68-68 tie.
- Paul Scruggs led Xavier with 11 points in the second half.
- Colby Jones added nine for the Musketeers.
- Butler finished with an 18-14 advantage on the boards in the second half.
- Butler opened overtime by scoring five straight points. Xavier would get within one, 73-72, with three minutes remaining but Butler responded with a 9-2 run to take control of the game.
- Xavier would get as close as six after a Jack Nunge three pointer before five-straight Butler points extended the deficit to 11 before two Xavier buckets in the final 15 seconds set the final score at 89-82.
- Jack Nunge had eight points in the overtime period.
- Jack Nunge had 24 points on 9-12 shooting from the floor and grabbed nine rebounds.
- Paul Scruggs finished with 15 points, and dished out six assists, surpassing 500 assists for his Xavier career.
- Zach Freemantle finished with a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
- Colby Jones also added 14 for the Musketeers.
- Butler finished with a 44-42 advantage on the boards.
- Xavier shot 47 percent from the floor compared to 44 percent for the Bulldogs, but connected on just 3-15 threes and 13-29 free throws.
COURTESY XAVIER ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS