NEW YORK – Three 18-point performances led Xavier to an 84-77 win over St. Bonaventure in the NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday evening. The Musketeers advance to play for the program’s second NIT Championship on Thursday evening.
FIRST HALF RECAP
- Xavier and St. Bonaventure traded baskets for the first four minutes, with neither team taking more than a two-point lead until Xavier scored 12 straight points to extend the lead out to 12.
- The Bonnies scored seven straight to make a two-possession game, 19-14, but missed its next nine shots, helping the Musketeers go on a 14-0 run to take a 33-14 lead, with the 19-point advantage being the largest of the first half.
- St. Bonaventure would get as close as 13 in the final minutes of the half before Xavier went into the break up 15, 38-23.
- Jack Nunge’s nine points, on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor, led Xavier the Musketeers.
- Nunge also had a team-high seven rebounds as Xavier finished the first half with a 26-16 advantage on the boards.
- The Musketeers had a 10-5 lead on the offensive glass, leading to an 11-0 advantage on points in the paint.
SECOND HALF RECAP
- The Bonnies outscored Xavier 9-4 over the first two minutes of the second half, pulling within 10, 42-32, with just under 18 minutes to play.
- The Musketeers and Bonnies traded baskets over the next seven minutes, with Xavier maintaining a 9-to-11 point lead until four straight St. Bonaventure points pulled the Bonnies within eight, 58-50, with 10 minutes to play, the closest St. Bonaventure had been since training 21-14 with 10 minutes to play in the first half.
- Five-straight Xavier points pushed the lead back out to 13 before a 10-2 run for the Bonnies made it a five-point game, 65-60, with 5:38 to play.
- The Bonnies would get no closer than five the rest of the way, with Xavier building the lead back out to as many as nine before winning 84-77.
- Adam Kunkel had 14 second half points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, including a pair of threes.
- Zach Freemantle added 11 after the break.
- Freemantle also grabbed a team-high four rebounds as both teams had 12 rebounds in the second half.
- Adam Kunkel finished with 18 points after leading Xavier in the second half with 14 points.
- Zach Freemantle added 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor.
- Jack Nunge also added 18 points, shooting 7-of-9 from the floor, and grabbed a team-high matching eight rebounds.
- Colby Jones finished with 16 points and also finished with eight boards.
- Nate Johnson added 10 points for the Musketeers.
- Xavier finished with a 38-28 advantage on the boards. The Musketeers turned a 14-10 advantage on the offensive glass into a 15-5 advantage on second chance points.
- The Musketeers also topped St. Bonaventure in the NIT Semifinals on the way to the 1958 NIT Championship.
COURTESY XAVIER ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS