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Xavier spent most of Friday afternoon on the wrong side of the scoreboard against Toledo in the finale of the Xavier Invitational at Cintas Center.

But, for the second day in a row, when crunch time arrived, Xavier found a way to hold on for a 76-73 win that required some late heroics and a career day from sophomore KyKy Tandy.

The day before, Tandy hardly played at all in the second half against Bradley.

More: Xavier survives a scare at the buzzer in a win over Bradley

“I told him (Tandy) this against Bradley,” said Xavier head coach Travis Steele, “I didn’t think the effort was there. I was disappointed with his motor and I thought it hurt our team. I told him last night when you go game, game, game, three games in three days, you gotta be able to make adjustments and control your emotions pretty dang quickly because it’s next game.

“I told him, ‘Flush the Bradley game out. It’s done. It’s over with. We need you. Our team needs you.'”

Tandy got the message and responded Friday with a career-high 24 points that included seven pivotal points in the final 3:24 of the game.

“I think I’ve been playing a little stagnant, a little overthinking at times,” Tandy said. “Today, my coach told me to be in attack mode, just play my game, not think.”

Xavier didn’t take its first lead in the game until 12:19 of the second half.

The lead proceeded to ping pong back and forth in the final minutes, but with 2:59 left and Toledo ahead 65-64, Xavier pulled together a 6-0 run thanks to a pair of baskets from Scruggs and Tandy, followed by two free throws from Tandy. Xavier never gave the lead back to Toledo, going 6 for 6 at the free-throw line in the final minutes. 

Xavier also played Friday with a lineup it had never practiced before.

“We had to scrap our whole offense,” said Steele. “We played a lineup we’ve never played in practice, never worked with. We just went with four guards and tried to spread the floor.”

Steele said he decided to go with Tandy, Scruggs, Dwon Odom, Nate Johnson and Jason Carter because Zach Freemantle was in foul trouble the entire game and Steele also thought it was a lineup that gave Xavier the best chance to win.

Xavier coach Travis Steele decided to go with a four-guard lineup because Zach Freemantle was in foul trouble. (Photo: Cara Owsley/The Enquirer)

“Obviously, Zach was trapped with three fouls,” said Steele. “I think we were struggling to guard them. I thought they were really exposing us when we were big, so I thought that would really help us defensively, but then I also thought offensively it could open up the floor a little more for our guards to try and attack.

“Sometimes you’ve gotta make adjustments on the fly and I was proud of our