Xavier Musketeers survive NCAA Tournament upset bid by Kennesaw State
GREENSBORO, N.C. (ENQUIRER) - It took every second and a late comeback for Xavier to survive Kennesaw State 72-67 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Trailing 61-48 with 9:57 left, Xavier needed a 15-0 run to storm back into the game.
Jack Nunge blocked a shot in the closing seconds while Xavier held a 68-67 lead. Souley Boum collected the loose ball and went to the line to seal it.
Fans can follow along below during the game with live updates by our media partners at The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Xavier’s 15-0 run retakes the lead | Xavier 63, Kennesaw State 61, 3:46 2H
Xavier’s held Kennesaw State scoreless for the last 6:11 of game time.
Over that span, the Musketeers have put together a 15-0 run to retake the lead.
The Owls will have two free throws after the under-four timeout to try and tie the game.
Xavier with some momentum | Kennesaw State 61, Xavier 53, 8:21 2H
Xavier’s hit six of its last seven shots and the Musketeers are trying to fight their way back into this game.
The 3-point line (1-for-10) has been unavailable. Xavier’s going to need to string some stops together and keep attacking the basket to claw their way back.
Jerome Hunter leads Xavier with 22 points. Colby Jones has 10. Those are Xavier’s only players in double figures.
Xavier’s entering crunch time | Kennesaw State 55, Xavier 44, 11:51 2H
The Musketeers have made three shots in a row after a nearly five-minute scoreless drought.
But the stops required to get back in this game have been hard for Xavier to find.
If the Musketeers can’t string together some solid defense this game could get away from them completely.
Spiraling, Xavier burns an early timeout | Kennesaw State 51, Xavier 38, 15:46 2H
The Owls sprinted out of the halftime locker room with an 8-2 edge. Xavier had to burn an early timeout. The Musketeers are 1-for-6 from the field to start the second half.
Kennesaw State is 4-for-9.
Nothing is going right for Xavier at the moment. Musketeers need an answer and they can’t afford to wait much longer or it could be too late.
Xavier needs to regroup, find a response | Kennesaw State 43, Xavier 36, HALF
Kennesaw State just punched Xavier in the mouth and the Musketeers are laying on the canvas right now.
Xavier committed four turnovers in the final five minutes of the half while Kennesaw State ran good offense and generated good looks.
Xavier’s just 1-for-7 from 3-point range. The Owls are 5-of-12. Kennesaw State shot 53% from the field in the first half while Xavier shot 48%.
Jerome Hunter leads Xavier with 13 points but he hasn’t scored in quite some time.
Kennesaw State’s had seven different players score, led by Terrell Burden’s 10 points, and eight from Chris Youngblood and Spencer Rodgers.
Xavier has 20 more minutes to turn this around or it’s going to be a short NCAA Tournament for the Musketeers.
Xavier’s in a fight | Kennesaw State 36, Xavier 34, 3:21 1H
The Musketeers have made one 3-pointer. The offense that started beautifully has dried up and Kennesaw State keeps attacking.
Xavier hasn’t made a field goal in 3:23.
The way this first half ends is very important for the Musketeers.
Offense dries up for Xavier | Xavier 25, Kennesaw State 25, 7:53 1H
Xavier’s offense just went through a dry spell where the Musketeers went 1-for-9 from the floor.
Adam Kunkel just finished a drive and then made a steal and got fouled at the rim in transition.
Kunkel will get two free throws after the break.
Colby Jones has yet to score for Xavier.
Back-to-back 3s from Kennesaw St. tie it up | Xavier 23, Kennesaw State 23, 10:37 1H
Xavier got a little too aggressive overhelping on back-to-back drives from Kennesaw State. It led to a pair of open looks and the Owls drilled both of them.
Xavier needs to settle down defensively and keep executing on offense.
It’s a 6-0 run in 22 seconds from Kennesaw State. Xavier called timeout to talk about it.
Owls make a little run | Xavier 22, Kennesaw State 17, 11:35 1H
Kennesaw State just made six shots in a row and put together a 6-0 run.
Souley Boum ended it with a tough runner off the left side of the lane. Jerome Hunter leads Xavier with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting and 3-of-3 at the foul line.
Desmond Claude will have two free throws coming after the under-12 media timeout.
Jerome Hunter’s sprinting out of the gate | Xavier 16, Kennesaw State 7, 15:21 1H
Jerome Hunter’s got seven points already. He’s made two buckets around the rim and he’s 3-for-3 at the foul line.
Xavier’s getting good looks every time down the floor and the defense has been solid at the other end.
Only one turnover for the Musketeers and Kennesaw State turned it over right back so it didn’t do any damage.
Souley Boum’s off to a great start as well with a 3-pointer and a layup off a nice feed from Desmond Claude.
This story was written by our media partners at The Cincinnati Enquirer.