Freemantle Leads Muskies in Exhibition Win
By Andy Mac Williams, 11/3/2022

Wednesday night's 80-62 Muskie Exhibition Game win over a well coached scrappy D-2 Kentucky Wesleyan team at Cintas was a tale of two halves. 1st 20 minutes not so good. XU led just 45-44. Muskies struggled defensively(forcing just 2 turnovers-getting 0 steals-allowing 6 made "3s"-getting ripped on the dribble-fouling way too much-giving KYW 12 FTs). X started Frosh Desmond Claude at PG and it was a learning experience(3 turnovers-no assists) but #1 got better fast. UTEP transfer Souley Boum opened at G w/ Colby Jones(SF), Zach Freemantle(PF) and Jack Nunge(C).

Adam Kunkel DNP(sprained foot in Vandy scrimmage last Sunday). Sean Miller's rotation boiled down to 8 players w/ Gs KyKy Tandy and Kam Craft plus PF Jerome Hunter coming off the bench. C Dieonte Miles played 2 minutes.

2nd half-much better effort w/ feisty swarming "D" X outscored KYW 35-18 including 17-2 over the last 7:49 of the game. Coach Miller pointed to Colby Jones as "the tone setter-he leads by example-doing everything well-unselfish-hitting the floor." Colby hustled for 5 2nd half steals(14 points-6 assists-7 rebounds).

Miller liked what he got from Zach Freemantle(22 points-13 rebounds-5 assists-just one turnover).

"He was outstanding-best player on the floor. For us to be a good team Zach has to be the best player he can be. We coaches have learned that Zach loves the game. Some players say they love it. Zach lives it. He's in the gym at all hours. He's committed to build up his body over the last 5 months and it shows!!"

Miller sees progress in his defense and PG play and expects much more of the same as players adjust to the new coaching staff and new practice routines and playing systems.

Des Claude showed his vast potential in 2nd half-running the floor-outmuscling the opposition finishing w/ 11 points-5 boards and 2 assists. Souley Boum (7 points-4 assists) was +29 in a game X won by 18. His ball handling is tight and his 5th year guy experience showed(5-5 FTs down the stretch). Jerome Hunter chipped in late(7 2nd half points-inside hustle-FT makes). He seems the leader as top BIG sub.

Tandy had a nifty 1st half scoring spurt(driving darting baseline lay-up and long 3 pointer). His stock is rising as 1st guard off the bench plus he looks great(down from 215 to 180) and is moving well.

Overall-not an easy night but a GREAT learning experience and a strong positive learning curve from 1st half to 2nd half. PG Claude is going to be a rock. Colby, Jack and Zach are the knowns. The other pieces slip into place because the talent is there. Defense is a work in progress.

Morgan State is next Monday Nov. 7th at 7:30 in the Opener at Cintas.

Coach Miller led off his postgame remarks by singling out the Student Section.

"I was caught off guard. The Student seats were sold out. We thank them. It was a mid-week exhibition game. They were loud and terrific."

I will join Willie and SEG on 700 WLW Friday afternoon at 1:30 for my annual Basketball Preview attempt although Willie will try to trick me into a political discussion.




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