NEW YORK (NWN) — Nate Johnson scored 30 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, and No. 25 Javier scored 59-58 to Virginia Tech in the consolation game of the NIT season tip-off on Friday night. defeated by ,
Johnson was the only player to score in double digits for Xavier (5-1).
“Nate was brilliant,” said Xavier’s coach, Travis Steele. “I’ve said this before: He’s the best shooter out there and I don’t think it’s even close. Those numbers will always bear themselves out over time.”
Nahim Allene scored 18 points for the Hokies (5-2), coming out on Wednesday losing to No. 9 Memphis. Hunter Kattur added 13 points and Kev Aluma added 12 points.
“We’re not as good as we thought we were,” said Virginia Tech coach Mike Young. “We have work to do.”
Javier, who lost 82-70 to Iowa State on Wednesday, beat Virginia Tech 45-37 in the middle of the second half, before starting the Hawkeyes rally, leading 16-4 at 3:46 at 53-49. carried on with the remainder.
“The reaction in the second half was pretty good,” Young said. “This is what our team looked like.”
Johnson tied it with 3, Virginia Tech again took the lead, and Javier’s Jack Nungay tied it 56-all on a 3-pointer with 1:56. After both teams missed, Allen’s layoff put Virginia Tech ahead of Johnson’s decider 3. Catur missed a jumper on the buzzer for the Hokies and Justin Mutt could not convert a tip-in.
“We had a set play,” Kattoor said. “(Young) trusts me to take that shot. it felt good. … I told Justin before the play, ‘(If) this shot goes off, it’s your tip-in.’ He was there to make a play and unfortunately it didn’t go in. ,
Javier took a 35-27 lead after hot-shooting in the first half. The Musketeers shot 56% from the field, including 50% (6 for 12) from 3-point range, while Virginia Tech narrowed down to 37.5% shooting.
Xavier: The Musketeers had struggled from 3-point range, making 27.3% of their efforts before Friday night, but scored 10 for 22 (45.5%) from beyond the arc against the Hokies.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies have reached the NCAA Tournament four years in a row, and this team looks capable of carrying on that streak. Entering Friday, the Hokies restricted opponents to 35.2% shooting from the field, as well as forced 14.2 turnovers and blocked three shots per game. Javier swung it 14 times, but Virginia Tech allowed the Musketeers to shoot 47.8% off the field.
Xavier: Central will host Michigan on Wednesday.
Virginia Tech: Visiting Maryland on Wednesday.
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