The Xavier Musketeers returned to action Wednesday afternoon to open the Xavier Invitational against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies, and the Musketeers came away with an emphatic 101-49 victory. This marks the first time Xavier scored 100+ points in a game since their 102-83 victory in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament against Texas Southern.
The first four minutes of the game proved predictably sluggish, as the teams were tied at four. Once Xavier got rolling, though, it was lights out. The Musketeers went on a 49-6 run over the rest of the half to go into the locker room up 53-12. KyKy Tandy singlehandledly outscored Oakland in the first half, finishing the half with 15 points.
The biggest story of the first half for the Musketeers was the three-point shooting. Xavier connected eight times from long-range for a .444 percentage. The team struggled from deep last year, shooting .312 for the season. Developing early confidence could certainly be a difference maker for Xavier this season, even if it leveled off a bit in the second half as Xavier finished 12-32 from deep.
Coming out of the first half with such a large lead made it so the Musketeers could basically cruise through the second half. They still looked impressive, but outscored Oakland by just 11 instead of the margin of the first half.
Zach Freemantle had a career day for the Musketeers, finishing with a career-high 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds. With Tyrique Jones out of the equation, Xavier needs big men to get rebounds. Freemantle and D-2 transfer Bryan Griffin combined for 20 rebounds, which is an excellent start.
The Musketeers saw five players record double-digit scoring, as Freemantle had 21, Tandy had 18, Nate Johnson had 17 (and five threes), and Dwon Odom and Dieonte Miles each had 12.
Daniel Oladapo led Oakland with eight points.
It’s worth noting that Oakland hasn’t really been able to practice much this month due to the pandemic, and Thursday’s game against Bradley will likely be a better gauge of where the Musketeers are at the moment, but a win is a win, especially when it’s as impressive as this one.