Xavier escaped with a home win over Marquette on Sunday after guard Adam Kunkel, a transfer from Belmont who entered the day averaging just 3.0 points per game, hit an incredible stepback 3-pointer as time expired to lift the Musketeers over the Golden Eagles 91-88.
Kunkel finished the game with 22 points and avenged a critical turnover he committed with just under a minute to play when Xavier was up by six points. It was his second made 3-pointer of the day in a brilliant off-the-bench showing in which he made all six of his free throw attempts and recorded two steals and two boards to boot.
The game-winner capped a fun-filled final minute that looked like a surefire Xavier win and devolved into a potential overtime affair. Xavier led 86-80 after Kunkel smashed a pair of free throws with 90 seconds left, but Marquette made things interesting thanks to Koby McEwen. McEwen made a layup with 49 seconds left to cut the lead to four then a few possessions later, he made a 3-pointer and was fouled, subsequently making his free throw to tie the game at 88.
The Musketeers improved to a perfect 8-0 with the escape job, but for Marquette, it was yet another crushing close loss in what has emerged as a troubling trend for the Golden Eagles. They fall to 5-4 with the loss and are now 2-4 on the season in games decided by single digits.