X Drops First Game of Season in Preason NIT
Andy Mac Williams,
What a nightmare in Brooklyn! Muskies were outhustled and punked off the dribble consistently by Big 12 Iowa State-losing 82-70 in Round One of Preseason NIT at Barclay's Center. Defensive stops were almost non-existent for XU. Forget about KILLS (3 stops in a row). KILLS were an endangered species on this night. X started slowly-down 17-7 just over 8 minutes in. Adam Kunkel (36 points-last two games) stayed back at the hotel w/ illness. Zach Freemantle sat the bench-still beached w/ foot injury. Sr leader Paul Scruggs was elbowed in the chest early on and never was a factor(3 points on 1-14 shooting).
Iowa State Frosh PG Tyrese Hunter schooled veteran Muskie guards(19 points-plenty of steals). X could not stop straight line dribble drives then Iowa State delivered the knock out punch w/ dead eye 3 point sniping when Xavier packed in the "D" to stop the lay-ups(Cyclones 10-20 from "3" while XU hit an anemic 3-21). That's a 21 point short fall in the long range department.
Penn State transfer Izaiah Brockington was a major Travis Steele worry going in w/ his wing shooting. He gunned in 30 points(12-19 FG).
X actually fought back to lead 39-38 at the half then totally pulled the rip cord to start half two-allowing Iowa State to post a 9-0 run and take a 47-39 lead 2:30 in. Muskies had some decent flurries but never could get the defensive stops and just faded away late.
Just two Muskies played up to par. Center Jack Nunge was terrific(career high 24 points on 9-11 FGs and 5-6 FTs). Colby Jones posted another double-double(11 points-12 boards) but took just 2 shots after halftime. He's got to call his own number more after doing all that yeoman spade work on the glass.
Dwon Odom started the 2nd half in place of Jerome Hunter. Jerome continues to labor offensively(3-12 FGs, 0-6 from "3"). X turned it over way too much(17 times) leading to 16 Iowa State fast break gift points.
X made way more FTs and won the rebound battle 39-33 w/ 16 offensive boards but Cyclones were more aggressive and played harder overall. Bad loss for Xavier(now 4-1).
X will play in 7PM game Friday in Brooklyn against the loser of Virginia Tech (ACC) vs #9 Memphis(AAC). Muskies can salvage the trip to NYC w/ what would amount to an upset NET Quad 1 victory over Va Tech or Memphis. Iowa State improves to 5-0. They get their Net Quad 1 win 82-70 over Xavier. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Not many positives from a subpar effort for X in the Big Apple. Time to regroup quickly w/ Thursday off between games. Friday's 7PM game will be televised on ESPN2.