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Xavier basketball: Musketeers avoid trouble, defeat Kent State

Paul Scruggs led with 23 while Colby Jones scored 19 in the win.

Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament - First Round Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

It was pretty dramatic, but the Xavier Musketeers marched into the win column again. Friday night saw the Musketeers host the Kent State Golden Flashes. For a while, the MACtion was too heavy for Xavier to handle. Kent State held a lead as large as 10 points in the first half, threatening to take them down in Cincy.

Then, back-to-back three-pointers from Sincere Carry propelled the Flashes up 48-43 with 14:12 remaining in the game. A 17-4 run in response by the Musketeers rocketed them up 60-52 and they never looked back from there. The Musketeers clamped down and won 73-59 to improve to 2-0 on the young season.

Paul Scruggs and Colby Jones led the charge in the win. Scruggs led all scorers with 23 points on the night. Jones, meanwhile, dropped 19 on a 6-for-8 mark from the floor. He also went 6-for-7 from the free throw line, pulled in eight boards, and had an assist too. His three turnovers were an eyesore, but not big enough to overshadow an otherwise strong performance.

Descending down the ladder, Jack Nunge was the only other Musketeer in double figures. Nunge scored 11 points off the bench and needed only 15 minutes to do so.

One thing that will hopefully improve for the Muskies is 3-point shooting. They shot just 20.7 percent from 3-point land in the win over Kent State. In their win in the opener against Niagara, the Musketeers shot merely 29.6 percent. Travis Steele-coached teams haven’t shot well from beyond the arc, so perhaps more of the same is ahead of us. Still, it’s definitely something to think about thus far.

Xavier has a big test coming next Thursday. The Musketeers welcome Chris Holtmann back to Cincinnati as his Ohio State Buckeyes for an incredibly rare regular-season matchup. In fact, it’s the first time ever!