(Photo Courtesy of Desmond Fischer)
by Tim Daniel
The Second Sean Miller era began this evening at the Cintas Center when the Xavier Musketeers won their exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan 80-62.
"My first remark is, I thought that when I walked out there I just can't believe our student section was sold out here on November 2nd, it caught me off guard," coach Miller said about the crowd tonight. "That was amazing, I'm realistic enough to know that on November 2nd there aren't many student sections who look like ours did tonight."
The crowd definitely was treated to a bit of an up-and-down performance from the team. The Musketeers did a great job crashing the glass on both sides of the ball, continued to attack the rim, and passed the ball really well as a team.
On the other hand, there was quite a bit from their performance that left a lot to be desired. As a team, Xavier shot 5-18 from three, had 15 turnovers, and also had a lot of fouls in the first half from being beaten by the opposition.
Individually, there were a few players with really good days. Desmond Claude, the highly touted freshman point guard looked the part of top-tier talent in college basketball. Claude scored 11 points and had five rebounds and two assists. As the game slowed down for Claude, he also showed a much better ability to hold onto the ball with zero second-half turnovers. Claude's skills to attack the rim were on display throughout the evening, and also hit a nice three-point basket at the top of the key.
Colby Jones continued to be the stat-stuffing wing we have seen throughout his first two seasons at Xavier. The 2022 NIT MVP had 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists, five steals, and a block. Though Jones did struggle at the foul line, he was able to overcome with the rest of his game.
Lastly, you can't discuss this game without talking about what Zach Freemantle did for the team. Zach had a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds along with five assists. Freemantle was continuously attacked with a double team when he caught the ball in the post and he was able to find the open shooter throughout the night.
All in all, Xavier looked like a team who were still learning to play together as a team with some highs and lows. Now the team is on to the regular season with the opener being this upcoming Monday night vs Morgan State. Tip-Off will be at 7:30 PM EST on FS1.