Souley Boum and Colby Jones scored 22 points apiece and Xavier held off Florida 90-83 Thursday in a Phil Knight Legacy tournament semifinal matchup in Portland, Ore.
Boum, a transfer from UTEP, and Jones, last season’s Most Outstanding Player in the NIT, carried the Musketeers (4-1), who led by as many as 11 points with 8:10 left in the game.
Jack Nunge added 16 points and nine rebounds, Zach Freemantle 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Adam Kunkel 11 points and five assists for Xavier.
Trey Bonham, a transfer from VMI, led Florida (3-2) with his season-high 23 points. Freshman Riley Kugel added 12 points, his first time in double figures, but Gators leading scorer Colin Castleton struggled.
Beginning the game averaging 25.2 points per game, Castleton scored just three in the first half and a season-low 11 for the game. He also had 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and 14th of his career.
Sophomore Kowacie Reeves, who started the first four games, did not play for Florida.
The Musketeers broke away from a 58-58 tie with under 14 minutes to go on a 17-4 run, thanks to a barrage of five 3-pointers, giving them a 73-62 cushion.
The Gators cut their gap to 75-73 with 5:43 left and were still within 82-79 approaching the 3-minute mark. But Kunkel and Boum responded with two baskets to ignite a 6-0 run and get the Musketeers up by 88-79.
The game was tied five times over the last 9:16 of the first half, but Xavier closed out the period on an 8-0 run for a 42-38 lead at the break. Boum accounted for five of the points, with three coming on his steal, layup and free throw with 13 seconds remaining.
Florida started the game only 2-of-8 from the field but finished the half 6-of-9, while Xavier was 5-of-6 shooting to close out the period.
For the game, the Gators finished 35-of-79 (44.3 percent) and Xavier was 33-of-59 (55.9). The Musketeers went 10 of 20 from long range, to 9 of 27 for Florida.
–Field Level Media