The junior wing was due for a big outing at the Phil Knight Legacy after scoring 14 points in two prior games against Portland State and Purdue. Strawther delivered against Xavier, scoring 23 points and burying two clutch 3-pointers late in the second half. Strawther, who’d gone 6 of 18 from the field in Gonzaga’s first two games, made 8 of 15 on Sunday and connected on 5 of 8 from the 3-point line. The Las Vegas native also had nine rebounds and three assists.
Xavier’s big man was the best player on the court much of the second half, scoring 16 of his game-high 25 points after halftime. The 7-foot preseason All-Big East selection had four consecutive Xavier baskets midway through the second half and a 7-0 personal run for Nunge helped the Musketeers open up a game-high eight-point lead with 6:19 remaining. Nunge finished 11 of 16 from the field and pulled down six rebounds in 32 minutes.
The Bulldogs had a few of them down the stretch and most were courtesy of Strawther. The junior took over inside the final four minutes, getting a short floater to fall and tying the game at 73-73. Xavier’s Zach Freemantle scored on the next possession to give the Musketeers a two-point advantage but the ball found Strawther at the other end and he knocked down his fourth 3-pointer to give the Zags their first lead in nearly six minutes. Strawther stuck a dagger into Xavier’s hopes of an upset win, making another deep shot from the top of the arc, extending GU’s lead to six points with 1:37 on the clock.
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