Men’s basketball has dominant performance vs. Montana

By Spencer Tracy, Staff Writer

The Montana Grizzlies arrived at the Cintas Center last Friday night with hopes of securing their first win and improving off their 28-point loss to Duquesne. Xavier finds themselves off to a comfortable start to their season after an overpowering home win over Morgan State last Monday.  

The biggest adjustments needed by the court were limiting turnovers after committing 20 against Morgan State. The spotlight will be bright for freshman Desmond Claude and Kam Craft who got their first taste of Division-1 basketball last week, hoping to see some improvements from the two. However, their development will take patience with both players having the potential to be future Musketeer stars in the coming years. For now, Claude and Craft will need to play strong minutes off the bench for head coach Sean Miller in order to reach high expectations.    

The Musketeers were firing at all cylinders, hitting their first 10 shots of the game beginning with Jack Nunge knocking down a three at the top of the key. KyKy Tandy followed his lead draining three more shots behind the of his own as Cintas erupted in response as the Muskie offense put up 15 points in just the first four minutes. Montana battled to keep the game within single digits, due to a quite Muskie offense with just three points in as many minutes. However, the crowd was brought back into the game after the 6th man sniper off the bench, Adam Kunkel, splashes a fast break three extending the Musketeer lead to 10. Xavier went into the half up 49-37, as fans got an exciting look at an electric offense, as Sean Miller brings the team into the locker room with hopes of improving on the defensive side after allowing 37 points at half.  

Colby Jones reignites the crowd by opening the second half with a groundbreaking dunk assisted by transfer senior Souley Boum who has fit like a glove in Sean Millers offense so far this year. College Basketball Officiating made its presents felt after a ridiculous technical foul call on KyKY Tandy for flopping on a defensive drive, filling Cintas Center with boos. The Xavier defense kept the Grizzlies distant holding their 20-point lead and finishing off with a satisfying 86-64win.  

The Muskie defense made its improvements holding Montana to under 40% shooting and just 27 points in the second half while forcing 16 turnovers overall. The offense looked more cleaned up 64% from the field, 57% from the field and only coughing up 9 turnovers. Graduate student Jack Nunge commented on their halftime adjustments in a post-game interview saying, “Coach called us all out and challenged us which allowed us to lock in defensively and do what we were supposed to do.” Nunge finished with 15 points, 4 boards and 2 assists, only behind Zach Freemantle’s 18 points. The Musketeers host Fairfield Tuesday night followed by Indiana for a Friday night showdown, Xaviers first big test of the year.