NIT Men’s Teams: Xavier gets past Vanderbilt despite Scottie Pippen Jr’s 28 points; advances to New York City


Musketeers will face St. Bonaventure on March 29 at Madison Square Garden

CINCINNATI – Xavier men’s basketball erased a late nine-point deficit and held off a push from Vanderbilt in the final minute to take a 75-73 win in the NIT Quarterfinals at Cintas Center. The Musketeers advance to the NIT Semifinals where they will face St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, March 29 at Madison Square Garden.

Zach Freemantle had 16 points to lead five Musketeers in double figures. Colby Jones added 15 on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor. Adam Kunkel had 14 points, Nate Johnson added 12 and Jack Nunge had 10 to help the Musketeers move to 21-13 on the season.


  • Vanderbilt jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first four minutes of the game before a 9-2 run pulled the Musketeers even at 10-10 with 13 minutes to play. The Musketeers connected on four straight field goals during that stretch, with seven points coming from Adam Kunkel.
  • The Dores retook the lead on a three before a four-straight Xavier points put Xavier in front for the first time at 14-13.
  • Xavier would lead by as many as six, 23-17, in the final 10 minutes of the half but Vandy closed out the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 31-29 lead into the break.
  • Adam Kunkel and Colby Jones each had nine points in the first half to lead the Musketeers and Zach Freemantle added seven.
  • Xavier finished the half shooting 43 percent from the floor, going 12-23 after missing the first five field goals.
  • Vanderbilt was limited to 37.5 percent shooting but grabbed eight offensive boards to three for the Musketeers.
  • Overall, the Commodores finished with a 23-15 advantage on rebounds, with Colby Jones grabbing eight to lead the Musketeers.


  • Vanderbilt opened up a 10-point lead in the first two minutes of the second half to take a 41-31 lead. 
  • Jack Nunge three started a 9-0 Xavier run, with four points coming from Zach Freemantle during that stretch, to pull the Musketeers within 41-40 with 15 minutes to play.
  • Xavier would come back to tie the game twice in the next five minutes, but each time the Musketeers would pull even, Vanderbilt responded to push its lead back out to multiple possessions.
  • Xavier would trail by as many as nine in the final 10 minutes of the second half, before outscoring the Commodores 10-2 over the next minute and a half, with five points coming from Zach Freemantle and five for Nate Johnson.
  • Xavier retook the lead after back-to-back baskets for Dwon Odom and Adam Kunkel, then after a pair of VU free throws scored four straight to go ahead 75-72. 
  • A Vandy free throw in the final seconds set the score at 75-73.
  • Xavier connected on its final three field goals and five of its last seven to retake the lead late.
  • Nate Johnson led Xavier with 12 second half points, connecting on 4-of-5 from the floor.
  • Xavier shot 65 percent from the floor, including 4-of-8 from three, while Vanderbilt shot 52 percent on field goals.
  • The Musketeers had a 16-11 advantage on the boards in the second half, led by five for Zach Freemantle.


  • Zach Freemantle led the Musketeers with 16 points and grabbed six rebounds.
  • Colby Jones added 15 on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor. Jones also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
  • Adam Kunkel had 14 points after scoring a team-high nine in the first half.
  • Nate Johnson added 12 points, shooting 4-of-5 from the floor in the second half.
  • Jack Nunge had 10 points, connecting on a pair of threes.
  • Vanderbilt finished with a 34-31 advantage on the boards, including a 10-5 advantage on offensive rebounds, but only had a 6-5 advantage on second-chance points.
  • VU’s Scotty Pippen Jr. led all scorers with 28 points.
  • Xavier finished shooting 53 percent from the floor while holding Vanderbilt to 44 percent.