#25 Xavier holds off #24 UConn in Big East battle

Jack Nunge

02.11.22

Jack Nunge leads Musketeers with 22; Nate Johnson, Zach Freemantle each add 12

CINCINNATI – Jack Nunge posted a second-straight 20-plus point performance to lead No. 25 Xavier to a 74-68 win over No. 24 UConn at Cintas Center on Friday evening. Nunge led three Musketeers in double figures, with Nate Johnson and Zach Freemantle each adding 12 points.

UConn took a narrow lead early and held it for much of the first half before Xavier went in front in the closing minutes of the half, taking a three-point halftime lead into the break on a Nate Johnson three at the buzzer. Xavier built the lead out to as many as 10 in the second half before made it a one possession game, but the. Musketeers connected on seven free throws in the final minutes to secure the win.

Xavier moves to 17-7 overall and 7-6 in BIG EAST play, while UConn falls to 16-7 overall and 7-5 in BIG EAST play.

FIRST HALF RECAP

  • UConn hit the opening bucket and the two teams traded baskets for the first 10 minute, going into the final 10 minutes of the half in a 10-10 tie.
  • UConn scored four straight for its first two-possession lead and led by as many as five, 19-14, in the first half. 
  • Xavier responded with an 11-3 run to erase the Huskies’ lead and go ahead, 25-22, with with 5:15 remaining.
  • After trading baskets for the next two minutes, UConn pulled back ahead by two 29-27, going into the final minute but Xavier outscored the Huskies 5-0 to close the half, capped by a Nate Johnson three at the buzzer to go into the half up three, 34-31.
  • Nate Johnson had 10 first half points to lead the Musketeers.
  • Xavier had a 19-15 advantage on the boards in the first half, led by five for Zach Freemantle.

SECOND HALF RECAP

  • Xavier opened the half with with an 8-3 run, with six points coming from Paul Scruggs, to push its lead out to eight, 42-34.
  • After a basket and-one for UConn, another 5-0 run, with all five points coming from Zach Freemantle, gave Xavier a 10-point lead, 47-37, with 13 minutes to play.
  • Back-to-back UConn threes cut it back to a four point lead, before a 7-3 Xavier run pushed it back to an eight point Xavier lead, 54-46, with 10 minute to play.
  • Xavier maintained a multiple-possession lead into the final minutes of the half before UConn pulled with three, 67-64, with 1:34 to play.
  • The Musketeers connected on seven free throws in the closing minutes to hold off the Huskies, setting the final score at 74-68.
  • Jack Nunge had 13 points in the second half to lead the Musketeers.
  • Zach Freemantle added 12 points, connecting on 5-of-6 field goals.
  • Xavier both teams grabbed 16 second-half rebounds, with Jack Nunge leading Xavier with five.
  • The Musketeers shot 60 percent from the floor while holding UConn to 35 percent shooting.

NOTABLES

  • Jack Nunge’s 22 point led the Musketeers and matched for game-high, marking his second-straight 20-point game. Nunge also had a team-high matching nine rebounds.
  • Nate Johnson finished with 12 points after leading Xavier with 10 in the first half, including a three at the buzzer to give the Musketeers the halftime lead.
  • Zach Freemantle finished with 12 points after going 5-of-6 from the floor in the second half. He also grabbed nine rebounds to match Nunge for team-high.
  • Paul Scruggs finished with nine points in his 142nd game as a Musketeer, matching Trevon Bluiett for most games as a Musketeer in program history.
  • Colby Jones finished with six assists.
  • Xavier finished with a 35-31 advantage on the boards. 

COURTESY XAVIER ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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