15 points is good, but it’s not special. 13 rebounds is good, but it’s not special. 10 assists is actually really good, but still not special. Throw all of those together in the same game, though, and you’ve got something that is even better than special. 15/13/10 was Zach Freemantle’s line against Fairfield Tuesday, and it made a mundane November game much more memorable.
Freemantle’s was Xavier’s first triple double since Myles Davis did it (with a below average offensive efficiency rating for the game) against Providence on February 17th, 2016 with 10/12/12. Myles needed a late free throw to earn his. He nailed it, of course, because he always nailed his free throws. That win pushed Xavier to 23-3 on the year. It was fun because Providence was very overrated that year and came in loaded with hype. Myles worked the allegedly wonderful Kris Dunn every which way and X walked away with the win.
Tu Holloway and David West are the other Xavier players with triple doubles. Tu had two, David West is the greatest Xavier player of all time. If you pack the stat line like that, you’ll land in some elite company.
What Zach Freemantle did on Tuesday didn’t dismiss a cocky Providence or lead Xavier past a major national power. It was an incredible effort, though. Xavier started the game against Fairfield getting punked a bit on the glass. Joel mentioned yesterday that Xavier hasn’t hit the defensive glass well as a team. Zach grabbed 10 of them on his own on Tuesday. He was an all effort, rebounder, too. It wasn’t sealing and grabbing boards, it was a performance full of a kind of life that Freemantle had early in his career and was completely bereft of last season.
The scoring was more vintage Freemantle. Zach took only one three pointer, but he made the Stags respect the fact he can shoot the ball. That enabled him to turn back into the schoolyard bully he is at his best. Supreme Cook is a nice player, but neither he nor Makai Willis could do much against a motivated Big Frosty. After a rocky start, Xavier’s big finished shooting 50% inside the arc and 3-4 from the line.
What of the passing? Well, it could be a connection with Jack Nunge that was missing before, it could be a play clearly drawn up to get him (hat tip to Sean Miller and to Desmond Claude for finishing it), or it could be players making shots. Mostly though, it was just one of those nights. Triple doubles are fun because it isn’t just a continuation of a good player being good, it’s a game with some stardust sprinkled on it. Zach Freemantle had 36 assists all of last season. It took him five games just to get to 10. Last night, he did it all at once.
I don’t know what the rest of the season holds for Zach Freemantle. He’s a good player who can be great at times. He seems more motivated to be great this year than he was last. More importantly, he did something special against Fairfield, and a guy who likes to spend time looking tough spent one trip down the court laughing and smiling. He should. Triple doubles are fun.