Down by 22, No. 10 Xavier rallies for 68-66 win over ETSU

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Bluiett’s jumper with 6.3 seconds left completed No. 10 Xavier’s rally from a 22-point second-half deficit for a 68-66 victory over East Tennessee State on Saturday.

The Musketeers (10-1) overcame their worst shooting performance of the season, making clutch shots at the end to pull it out. Bluiett missed 11 straight shots and was only 7 of 22 from the field for 18 points, but made the one that mattered.

ETSU (6-4) led 51-29 with 14:24 to go, but couldn’t hold off the Musketeers. Desonta Bradford scored 20 points, but his long 3-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer.

Xavier has won 38 straight nonconference home games since a 56-55 loss to Wofford on Dec. 22, 2012. The streak was in jeopardy until the final minute. Kerem Kanter’s 3-pointer tied it at 66 with 53 seconds left.

Xavier came into the game ranked second nationally at 54.6 percent from the field, but shot a season-low 29 percent from the field in the first half. The Musketeers finished at 38 percent.

BIG PICTURE

ETSU: The Buccaneers had already played a top-10 team on the road, losing at No. 7 Kentucky 78-61 on Nov. 17. They shot a season-low 32 percent against the Wildcats. Against the Musketeers, they shot 37 percent and missed two shots in the final minute.

Xavier: The Musketeers made a habit of getting off to fast starts in the last four games, outscoring opponents 55-28 in the first 5 minutes. They missed 11 of their first 15 shots on Saturday, allowing ETSU settle in and gain confidence.

UP NEXT

ETSU visits Detroit on Tuesday, followed by home games against Georgia Southern and Tusculum.

Xavier hosts Marshall on Tuesday, wrapping up its six-game homestand. The Musketeers then play at Northern Iowa before starting Big East play.