Sophomore Scott Taloff earned a spot on the all-tournament team
Sophomore Scott Taloff earned a spot on the all-tournament team
University of Saint Francis (Ill.)
Saint Xavier
Men's Basketball - Wed, Dec. 22, 2010

CHICAGO - A pair of free throws by junior guard Billy Hubly with two seconds remaining in the third overtime period sealed the deal as University of St. Francis (Ill.) defeated Saint Xavier University, 109-105, in the championship game of the 2010 SXU Midwest Tournament Wednesday night at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (12-3 overall) had a 77-75 lead with under 10 seconds remaining in regulation when USF's junior center Bruce Watson forced overtime with a lay-up with a second left on the clock. After the game, Saint Francis senior guard Andrew Fair was named the tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP), while SXU's sophomore guard Scott Taloff (Bedford Park, Ill./St. Laurence) earned a spot on the all-tournament squad.

Junior guard Ed Gilgenbach (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac) and sophomore point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) both finished with 20 points to lead the Cougars, while Taloff contributed 19 points on the night. Also scoring in double figures for Saint Xavier were senior guard Marco Samimy (Peterson Woods, Ill./CICS-Northtown Academy) with 14 points and junior forward Zach Opheim (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) with 10 points. Gilgenbach also led SXU with eight rebounds, while Green had five assists. The Fighting Saints were paced by Watson's 31 points and 12 rebounds. Fair finished with 25 points, four assists and a pair of steals for USF.

SXU started the game well and was able to build a 13-point advantage, 28-15, in the first 11 minutes of play behind stellar shooting and committing no turnovers. However, the Fighting Saints lived up to their name and fought back to close the gap to four points at the half, 37-33. The Cougars built the lead back up to nine points, 46-37, early in the second half, but again USF stormed back and cut it to two, 48-46, just two minutes later. Saint Xavier led the entire second half, but could not pull away and St. Francis was able to force extra sessions on the lay-up by Watson at the end of regulation. The overtime frames were extremely tight throughout and both of these Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rivals had opportunities to win in the closing seconds of the first two frames. A pair of clutch lay-ups by Fair and another big lay-up by Watson in the final two minutes of the third extra period kept the Fighting Saints in control and the two free throws by Hubly in the final seconds secured the tournament title.

Saint Xavier (12-3 overall/0-1 CCAC) takes a break for the holidays and returns to action after the New Year with a road game against Saint Thomas University (Fla.) on Monday, January 3. Tip-off for the contest is scheduled for 8 p.m. (eastern) in Miami Gardens, Fla.