Xavier Musketeers Men’s Basketball News: ‘X’ dispatches Cleveland State to move on in NIT

03.15.22

Five Musketeers hit double figures in 72-68 win

CINCINNATI – Five Musketeers hit double figures as No. 2 Xavier topped Cleveland State, 72-68, to advance to the NIT Second Round. The Musketeers will now host either Iona or No. 3 seed Florida at Cintas Center on Sunday.

Adam Kunkel’s 14 points led the Musketeers and Zach Freemantle finished with a double-double after scoring 13 with 11 boards. Jack Nunge and Paul Scruggs each added 12 and Colby Jones had 11 as Xavier moved to 19-13 on the season.

FIRST HALF RECAP

  • The Vikings took the early lead, going ahead by as many as six in the first 10 minutes before Xavier used a 9-0 run to move in front 20-16, with seven minutes remaining before halftime. 
  • Cleveland State responded with an 8-2 run to move back in front, 24-22, keeping the lead into the final minute.
  • A three from Adam Kunkel at the buzzer put the Musketeers in front, 29-28, at the half.
  • Jack Nunge led the Musketeers with seven points, going 3-of-4 from the floor.
  • Kunkel finished with six points after a pair of made threes.
  • Zach Freemantle also added six points in the first half, and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. 
  • Xavier was out-rebounded 23-21.
  • The Musketeers dished out 10 assists on 12 made field goals, led by three for Adam Kunkel.

SECOND HALF RECAP

  • CSU used a 7-0 run to open the second half to retake the lead, and built the lead out to as many as seven 43-36, before back to back Musketeer threes from Nate Johnson and Adam Kunkel pulled Xavier within one, 43-42.
  • After CSU pushed the lead back to four, 47-43, Xavier went on a 7-2 run to retake the lead at 50-49 with nine minutes to play.
  • The Musketeers outscored the Vikings 8-2 over the next two minutes to take the lead for good, leading by as many as five before winning by a final score of 72-68.
  • Xavier shot 42.9 percent for the second half to the Vikings’ 48.1 percent, but the Musketeers held CSU without a made field goal for the final 4:20 of the game.
  • Paul Scruggs had 10 points to lead the Musketeers in the second half.
  • Adam Kunkel added eight in the second half.
  • Zach Freemantle and Colby Jones each added seven after the break.
  • Jones grabbed a team-high five rebounds, but CSU finished with a 19-16 advantage on the boards for the second half.

NOTABLES

  • Adam Kunkel finished with 14 points, connecting on three outside shots, to lead the Musketeers.
  • Zach Freemantle finished with a double-double, scoring 13 and grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds. Freemantle also had four blocks for the game.
  • Jack Nunge finished with 12 points, shooting 5-of-6 from the floor including a pair of threes.
  • Paul Scruggs finished with 12 points including going 6-of-6 from the free throw line, grabbing a team-high six steals.
  • Colby Jones scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had a team-high six assists.
  • Xavier finished with 17 assists on 24 made field goals.

NEXT OPPONENT

Xavier advances to host the winner of Iona at No. 3 seed Florida on Sunday at Cintas Center. The Gaels and the Gators are set to face off at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

COURTESY XAVIER ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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