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No. 22 Xavier holds on to beat St. John’s for seventh-straight victory

Dec 28, 2022; Queens, New York, USA;  Xavier Musketeers guard Souley Boum (0) drives past St. John's Red Storm guard Andre Curbelo (3) in the first half at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Nunge totaled 23 points and 12 rebounds as No. 22 Xavier built a big lead and held on for an 84-79 victory over host St. John’s Wednesday night in New York to extend its winning streak to seven games.

Xavier (11-3, 3-0) is off to its fourth 3-0 start since becoming a Big East member and lived up to its billing as the conference’s top offense while leading for the final 35:20 thanks to an early 16-0 run before sweating out the final minutes.

Nunge scored 12 points in Xavier’s dominant opening half but none during the early run. He made his first five shots and finished 10 of 14 overall after a 0-of-5 showing last week against Seton Hall.

Nunge posted his third double-double and helped Xavier outrebound the Red Storm 48-36 and score 48 points in the paint.

Souley Boum added 17 and six assists while Zach Freemantle contributed 14 and nine boards as Xavier shot 45.7 percent.

David Jones collected 19 and 10 rebounds for the Red Storm (11-3, 1-2) who faltered in their second game against a ranked opponent. Joel Soriano added 14 but was held without a double-double for the third time.

Montez Mathis chipped in 14 and Posh Alexander finished with 11 as the Red Storm shot 43.1 percent and missed 17 layups.

After a two-handed dunk by Jones gave St John’s a 12-11 lead with 15:38 remaining, Xavier ripped off nine straight points in 82 seconds and Nunge’s layup forced Red Storm to call a timeout after being unable to take one on the previous possession.

Following the timeout Jerome Hunter dunked, Cesare Edwards hit a layup and Boum hit a 3-pointer for a 27-12 edge with 12:59 remaining.

Nunge made his fifth straight field goal when his 3 banked off the glass for a 42-26 lead with 4:54 left and Xavier held a 48-37 lead by halftime.
Nunge’s hook shot in the lane opened a 67-49 lead with about 10 minutes left.

St John’s finally made a push in the final six-plus minutes, getting within 73-66 on a 3 by Jones with 5:38 left.

–Field Level Media