The Xavier Musketeers look for their third straight win while the visiting Fairfield Stags look for their first win in three tries when the teams meet Tuesday night in Cincinnati.
Zach Freemantle and Jack Nunge combined for 33 points on 13-for-19 shooting on Friday night, leading the host Musketeers to an 86-64 win over visiting Montana.
Xavier made its first 10 shots, taking a 27-17 lead at the 12:03 mark of the first half. Montana closed within nine points twice in the half before the Musketeers widened their lead to 49-34 on two free throws by KyKy Tandy with 40 seconds left before intermission.
“The tone was set from the very beginning that we were going to have a bunch of guys that were really committed to playing hard,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said after the game. “I thought we had unselfishness, guys looking for each other in really great balance.”
Xavier shot 64 percent from the floor, the team’s highest field-goal percentage since Dec. 15, 2018. The Musketeers also finished the game 8-for-14 from 3-point range.
The Musketeers forced 16 turnovers and converted them into 19 points while dominating points in the paint, 44-20, and fastbreak scoring, 16-3. After committing 20 turnovers against Morgan State, Xavier had just nine against Montana.
Fairfield is coming off a pair of 12-point losses to open the season, 71-59 at Wake Forest on Nov. 7 and 83-71 at New Hampshire on Friday. The Stags are in the midst of eight games away from their Connecticut campus to start the season before opening their new arena on Dec. 3 vs. Saint Peter’s.
Fourth-year coach Jay Young is looking to MAAC preseason first team selection Supreme Cook to make an impact. The 6-foot-9 junior forward is averaging 10 points and four rebounds over the first two games.
Fairfield’s Caleb Fields is putting up 16.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest.
“Going into Year 4, this is the most depth we’ve had and certainly the most talent we’ve had,” Young said. “I think this year we’ve certainly got more offensive answers than we ever had.”
James Johns Jr. scored 13 points off the Stags’ bench in the loss to New Hampshire.
–Field Level Media