March Madness: Xavier overcomes 13-point deficit, avoids big upset of No. 14 seed Kennesaw State

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Jack Nunn made the Xavier play a must.

The Musketeers’ 7-foot senior Nunn came through a clutch block on Kennesaw State’s Terrell Burden to allow his team to escape the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 72-67 victory and become the latest high-seeded team Returns. Be troubled by the two-digit seed.

At the time of Nunge’s block, Xavier was leading 68–67 in the final seconds of the game. Burden saw a path to the rim that would give the underdog Owls a late lead, but Nunz slid to his left and made a massive defensive play.

It took a huge comeback for Javier to even get into that position.

The No. 3 seed Musketeers fell behind the No. 14 seed Owls at halftime and saw the deficit grow to 13 points midway through the second half.

But then Kennesaw State’s offense went cold. The Owls attempted 12 consecutive field goals in a span of eight minutes. During that drought by the Owls, Xavier went on a 15–0 scoring run to take the lead.

Even after that dry spell, Kennesaw State still had chances to win. A Damond Robinson jumper gave the Owls a 65–64 lead with 2:04 to play, but Xavier’s Adam Kunkel answered with a 3-pointer to put the Musketeers back in front 67–65.

On the ensuing possession, Kennesaw’s Kasen Jennings tied the score with an off-balance layup at the 1:22 mark, but Xavier ended up scoring the last five points of the game to come away with the win.

A Colby Jones free throw with 18 seconds left gave Xavier the lead, setting the scene for Nanz’s clutch block as the clock ticked down to five seconds. From there, Javier hit four more free throws to seal the five-point victory.

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