Xavier Basketball guard Adam Kunkel and Souley Boum got into a heated exchange as the Musketeers clawed its way back into contention against Kennesaw State in March Madness, according to a tweet from CBS Sports.
Things got heated between Xavier teammates pic.twitter.com/xfeBiNUwLz
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 17, 2023
Xavier was down by seven points at the half against the ASUN basketball conference champions after guard Terrell Burden sank two free throws with just seconds remaining. Free throws from Xavier center Jack Nunge and guard Colby Jones capped off a late run from the Musketeers. A late block from 7-foot forward Jack Nunge kept Kennesaw State at bay as the Owls managed to stay within one point of Xavier.
Owls guard Spencer Rodgers barely stepped out of bounds on the inbound, ultimately sealing the 72-67 victory for the 3-seeded Musketeers over Kennesaw State.
Boum ended the near-upset with 17 points and five rebounds, while Kunkel finished with eight points and six assists while making three of his five field goal attempts. Senior forward Jerome Hunter led the team with 24 points and a 72.7% shooting percentage.
Xavier was dealt a devastating blow before the NCAA men’s basketball tournament started when forward Zach Freemantle underwent season-ending foot surgery in early March. Freemantle had not played since Jan. 28, when he led the Musketeers with 18 points in 24 minutes of play as Xavier fell to Creighton in an 84-67 loss at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
While the Musketeers managed to avoid an upset, several teams have already fallen victim to the madness of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. 4-seeded Virginia fell to 13-seeded Furman on Thursday, sparking a revelation from Furman head coach Bob Richey after he asked Paladins players to foul Virginia guard Kihei Clark.
“I was calling for a foul,” Richey said, per Brandan Marks of The Athletic, “but the good Lord knew they couldn’t hear me — and they threw it to us.”
Xavier will take on the winner of a matchup between Iowa State and Pittsburgh on Friday at 3:30 p.m. EDT.