Xavier edges Texas A&M 73-72 for 1st NIT title since 1958

NEW YORK – If this was the previous NIT championship video game at Madison Square Yard, it undoubtedly was a thriller.

In particular for Xavier.

Jack Nunge produced the go-in advance basket with 3.1 seconds still left and the Musketeers gained their to start with NIT crown in 64 several years Thursday evening, rallying for a 73-72 victory in excess of Texas A&M.

Colby Jones scored 21 details for Xavier (23-13) and was picked the tournament’s most superb participant. Dwon Odom extra 18, and Nunge had 15 points and 11 rebounds to support the Musketeers erase an 8-position halftime deficit underneath interim mentor Jonas Hayes.

“I can’t say enough about our men,” Hayes mentioned. “That’s what Xavier basketball is.”

It was the remaining Nationwide Invitation Tournament title video game at Madison Sq. Backyard for at minimum a number of many years — breaking a higher education basketball tradition that dates to 1938.

MSG will not host the semifinals and finals anymore in 2023 and 2024, the NIT announced this week, declaring a bid procedure has started to find new web sites for people a long time. Almost nothing has been decided about 2025 and outside of.

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“Madison Square Backyard garden is a particular court,” Nunge claimed. “Everybody knows the really feel when you’re playing out there and you just want to give it your all — all the heritage that’s there. I’m just grateful to be component of this staff and have our names in the history books.”

Quenton Jackson scored 23 factors for the Aggies (27-13), left out of the NCAA Event even with reaching the SEC ultimate, in which they misplaced to Tennessee. It was a shocking snub by the variety committee that drew criticism from Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams and many others.

Immediately after finding above their disappointment, the Aggies practically took the consolation prize.

“It’s been terrific. One particular of the much better ordeals I have experienced participating in basketball,” Jackson mentioned. “We’ve been as a result of a good deal this 12 months. A large amount of ups, a good deal of downs, but through it all I assume we’ve all realized just how to persevere and keep on being resilient by every little thing.”

In a championship match with 17 guide changes, Adam Kunkel built one of two cost-free throws to give next-seeded Xavier a 71-70 benefit with 1:28 remaining.

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Jackson was fouled by Odom on a generate and sank both of those absolutely free throws to put the prime-seeded Aggies in front with 27 seconds remaining.

Texas A&M blocked a shot out of bounds on the other stop, and Xavier inbounded from the baseline. Jones found Nunge inside of and he wheeled into the lane and banked in a 1-handed turnaround shot that set Xavier ahead 73-72.

“Ever considering the fact that Jonas has taken over as head coach, we have not really had any out-of-bounds performs,” Nunge said. “I tried using to simply call — search at the bench and simply call a basic a single all people is familiar with, and Colby looked at me and explained he was going to throw me the ball, and I was fortunate plenty of to knock down the shot.”

Right after a timeout by the Aggies, they nevertheless had a probability to get. Tyrece Radford dribbled up the left facet and tossed up a runner from the 3-point line that rimmed out.

“Unbelievable game,” claimed Hayes, his NIT championship T-shirt soaked. “I believed our men fulfilled the challenge. I’m privileged plenty of to have experienced the option to direct these guys for a couple weeks, and these men have earned the volume of success they have.”

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Nunge grabbed the rebound at the buzzer to seal Xavier’s next NIT championship. The other just one arrived in 1958.

Right after a disappointing flop in the Massive East this year, the Musketeers took off in the NIT regardless of getting rid of senior guard Paul Scruggs to a torn knee ligament.

“What has transpired in their program over the past two months is historic and any Advert that has a job opening should really seek the services of the undefeated head coach at Xavier, Mentor Hayes,” Williams claimed.

Hayes took around when head coach Travis Steele was fired pursuing Xavier’s victory about Cleveland Condition in the initial round of the NIT.

Sean Miller, the previous Arizona mentor, was employed for his next stint at Xavier and will now consider cost of the system. A smiling Miller, who also coached the Musketeers from 2004-09, watched from the MSG stands Thursday evening.

Radford completed with 15 details and Hassan Diarra, a New York City native, additional 12 for the Aggies.

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Texas A&M experienced a 10-place lead, its major of the evening, late in the very first 50 percent.

Jackson and Diarra blended for 22 details to give the Aggies a 40-32 edge at the break. Texas A&M shot 14 for 25 from the industry.

Diarra came off the bench to spark a 18-10 surge in excess of the ultimate 6 minutes of the initially 50 percent. His layup evened it 26-all and he capped a 7- spurt with a 3-pointer that extended the Aggies’ lead to 31-26.

Jackson then took gain of a Xavier turnover and ignited an additional 7- operate with a 3-pointer and a pair of totally free throws ahead of Radford tipped in Jackson’s pass up to make it 40-30.

IN THE Garden

Attendance was 3,551 as Xavier grew to become the 83rd NIT winner topped at Madison Square Backyard garden.

The celebration has been played yearly at MSG since its inception in 1938. Final year was an exception, when the complete match was held in North Texas with a diminished subject since of the coronavirus pandemic that also forced cancellation of the 2020 edition.

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