Adam Kunkel scored 26 points and Nate Johnson added 20 as host Xavier cruised to an 88-48 win over Norfolk State in a nonconference game Sunday in Cincinnati.
Colby Jones contributed 10 points and 13 rebounds and Jerome Hunter and Dwon Odon each had six assists for the Musketeers (4-0), who held Norfolk State to 27.0 percent shooting from the floor and 13 percent from 3-point range.
Christian Ings scored 12 points for Norfolk State (5-1), which had upended Bowling Green on the road on Friday night.
The Spartans looked weary and overmatched Sunday afternoon against a power-conference opponent. They didn’t make a 3-pointer until 10:15 remained in the game after Joe Bryant Jr. finally connected from deep.
The Spartans missed their first 15 attempts from beyond the arc.
Xavier opened the contest with a 19-5 run, capped by a driving contested layup by Hunter with 14:07 to go in the half. Norfolk State never got within single digits after that.
The first half was typified by a sequence in which Kunkel drained a deep 3-pointer to provide Xavier with a 24-7 lead with 12:11 left before intermission.
On the following possession, Bryant tried a long two-point jumper for Norfolk State. It would have been an air ball except that it grazed the bottom of the net before going out of bounds.
That summed up Norfolk State’s accuracy for the half. After going 16-for-31, a sizzling 51.6 percent from beyond the arc in victories against William & Mary and Bowling Green, the Spartans were 0-for-12 from long distance in the first half. They also were a woeful 7-for-38 (18.4 percent) overall.
Part of the credit for that goes to the close-guarding Musketeers, who extended their defense and pushed the Spartans far out to the perimeter, yet also harassed their shooters when they ventured inside the paint.
Xavier racked up seven blocked shots in the first 20 minutes, three by Jones. The Musketeers had 11 blocks for the game.
–Field Level Media
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