Men's Basketball - Sat, Mar. 6, 2010
CHICAGO - Needing a win to keep its season alive, the No. 3 seeded Saint Xavier University men's basketball team did just that by upsetting No. 1 seed and No. 14 ranked Robert Morris University (Ill.), 92-90 in overtime of the championship game of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Tournament Saturday evening at the Gentile Center in Chicago. With the win, the Cougars earned an automatic bid to the 2010 Buffalo Funds-NAIA National Championship Tournament. The Cougars (23-9 overall) built a 15-point halftime lead, 50-35, after shooting 60 percent (21-for-35) from the field, including a 4-for-5 clip from beyond the three-point arc. It was only RMU's second loss of the season at the Gentile Center and ended an eight-game win streak by the Eagles. Senior guard Julian Scott (Country Club Hills, Ill./Hillcrest) scored eight of his 18 points in the extra period to lead SXU to the upset victory. RMU had won eight of the previous nine CCAC Tournament championships heading into Saturday's match-up.
The game opened with nine lead changes and three tie scores in the first nine minutes before Saint Xavier got into a groove and built a 16-point advantage on a three-point play by senior guard Marcus Jackson (Hammond, Ind./Wayne State/Delta College/Hammond) with 5:16 to play in the first half. The Cougars took a 19-point lead, its largest of the game, with two minutes remaining before halftime on a three-pointer by senior forward Jake Listebarger (Harvard, Ill./McHenry County College/Richmond-Burton). The Eagles would close out the first half with back-to-back jumpers by senior guard Billy Rush and freshman guard Daniel Mendoza to head into the locker room trailing by 15. RMU would use a 12-2 run midway through the second half to cut SXU's lead to five, 66-61, with eight minutes to play in regulation. A pair of three-pointers by freshman point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) kept the Eagles' rally attempts at bay pushing SXU's lead back into double digits. However, starting at the 5:25 mark of regulation, the Cougar offense went cold and RMU took advantage closing out the frame with a 17-5 scoring run to tie things up, 81-81, and force the overtime period. Fortunately for Saint Xavier, Scott and Green heated up in the extra frame scoring all 11 points for the Cougars to secure the victory. Listebarger finished with 16 points for the Cougars, while Green chipped in 12 points. RMU was led by Rush with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Saint Xavier (23-9 overall) will now await its seed and pairing for the upcoming 2010 Buffalo Funds-NAIA National Championship Tournament at historic Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. The national tournament kicks off on Wednesday, March 17, and the pairings for the event will be officially released by College Fanz Sports Network on Wednesday, March 10, starting at 3:30 p.m. on its website at www.collegefanz.com.