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.