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Nov 27, 2022 8:50 pm

Julian Strawther, No. 6 Gonzaga stave off Xavier

Julian Strawther scored a career-high 23 points and collected nine rebounds to help No. 6 Gonzaga notch an 88-84 victory over Xavier on Sunday night and win the third-place game of the Phil Knight Legacy at Portland, Ore.

Drew Timme added 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds as the Bulldogs (5-2) bounced back from Friday’s 84-66 loss to No. 24 Purdue.

Anton Watson contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and three steals, Nolan Hickman had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists and Rasir Bolton added 13 points and six assists for Gonzaga.

Jack Nunge scored a season-best 25 points and Colby Jones matched his season high of 22 for the Musketeers (4-3). Zach Freemantle had 14 points and Souley Boum scored 10.

Xavier led 75-73 after Freemantle’s basket with 3:46 remaining before the Zags took over.

Strawther made a 3-pointer, Watson hit a jumper and Strawther connected on another trey as the Bulldogs took an 81-75 lead with 1:37 to play. Watson made two free throws to cap the 10-0 burst with 55.8 seconds left.

Jones scored all the Musketeers’ points during a 9-3 run as Xavier moved within 86-84 with 2.6 seconds left. Strawther made two free throws with two seconds left to seal it.

Xavier’s Adam Kunkel (head injury) sat out. He was injured during Friday’s loss to Duke.

The Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the field and were 13 of 24 from 3-point range.

Xavier hit 51.5 percent of its shots, including 8 of 15 from behind the arc. Jones had seven rebounds and seven assists and Boum also had seven boards.

Gonzaga led by 10 points early in the second half before the Musketeers rattled off 25 of the next 32 points to take an eight-point lead.

First, Xavier scored seven straight to creep within 56-53 with 11:47 left.

A short time later, Jones buried a 3-pointer and Nunge scored on a layup to give the Musketeers a 62-61 edge with 9:18 remaining in the contest. That marked Xavier’s first lead since 2-0.

Timme scored 15 seconds later to put the Bulldogs back ahead. But Nunge scored seven consecutive points and KyKy Tandy hit a jumper as Xavier held a 71-63 lead with 6:19 left.

Gonzaga responded with eight straight points. Bolton and Hickman made 3-pointers and Timme sank two free throws to tie it with 4:47 left.

Watson had 10 points and six rebounds in the first half as Gonzaga held a 40-34 advantage. Freemantle had 10 in the half for the Musketeers.

–Field Level Media

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