Kansas City, Mo. - Despite 19 points and 13 rebounds by sophomore guard Julian Scott (Country Club Hills, Ill./Hillcrest), the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team could not sustain its six-point lead at halftime and fell, 76-68, to No. 3 ranked Lambuth University (Tenn.) Thursday in the first round of the 2008 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championships at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. The Cougars led 35-29 at the break, but were plagued by 25 turnovers in the game to end their season at 24-9 overall.
In addition to Scott, several other SXU players played well in the season finale with junior guard Amir Resic (Prijedor, Bosnia/East-West/Mather) chipping in 13 points and junior forward Adam Gregoriou (Burbank, Ill./Brother Rice) posting 10 points and five assists. The Cougars shot 47 percent from the field (25-for-53) and out-rebounded the Eagles, 47-31, in Thursday's game. However, Lambuth recorded 18 steals which helped lead to the unusually high turnover total for Saint Xavier.
SXU went on a 10-0 run midway through the first half to take a 24-14 lead with seven minutes remaining. Both teams ended the half with 28 points from the field, but seven made free throws by the Cougars provided them a 35-29 halftime lead. The Eagles scored nine unanswered points from four different players in the second half to take a 54-53 lead. Lambuth then scored another seven unanswered points under the five-minute mark to take a 70-63 lead with 2:28 remaining in regulation. With the win, Lambuth improves to 30-3 and plays unseeded Oklahoma Baptist Friday at 12:30 p.m. CST in second-round play.
Saint Xavier finishes the season with a 24-9 mark and a third-place finish in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) standings with a 7-3 mark. This marks the fifth time in the last six seasons that SXU has earned a berth to the NAIA National Championships.Click here for game stats