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Nate Johnson propels No. 25 Xavier past Virginia Tech

Field Level Media
27 Nov 2021, 12:40 GMT+10

Nate Johnson hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left Friday as No. 25 Xavier survived Virginia Tech 59-58 in the third-place game of the NIT Season Tip-Off in Brooklyn.

In a matchup of teams coming off their first loss of the season, the Musketeers (5-1) persevered thanks to Johnson's shot from the left wing and a pair of misses from the Hokies (5-2) in the final seconds.

On the final sequence, Virginia Tech's Hunter Cattoor couldn't connect on a jumper from the foul line before Justyn Mutts' tip-in rimmed off at the buzzer.

Johnson finished with a career-high 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including a 7-of-11 effort from outside the arc. Jack Nunge contributed nine points and 14 rebounds for the Musketeers.

Nahiem Alleyne paced the Hokies with 18 points. Cattoor chipped in with 13 points, while Keve Aluma added 12.

Xavier initially led 35-27 at intermission, but neither team scored for the first three minutes of the second half. The Musketeers still led by eight when Dwon Odom knocked down a jumper with 10:51 to play.

However, a dunk by Aluma began a 16-4 run that appeared to turn the tide of the game. Alleyne hit a 3-pointer shortly after Aluma's dunk, and Sean Pedulla knocked down a long-range shot of his own with about 6 1/2 minutes to play. Pedulla made another bucket on the next trip to tie the game, and Alleyne's jumper with 5:20 left put the Hokies in front.

Aluma capped the surge with a jump shot as Virginia Tech led 53-49 with less than four minutes left.

Xavier kept fighting and tied the game at 53-53 after Johnson's 3-pointer, and then drew even again at 56-56 on Nunge's long-range bucket with 1:56 remaining.

Aluma's layup with 45 seconds left put Virginia Tech up by two points, but Odom penetrated and found Johnson for the decisive 3-pointer.

--Field Level Media

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