Miami Gardens, Fla. - Despite five different players scoring in double figures, the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team could not complete a late second-half rally and fell 72-69 to Saint Thomas University (Fla.) Monday evening in Miami Gardens, Fla. Sophomore guard Scott Taloff (Bedford Park, Ill./St. Laurence) led the Cougars with 17 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the floor. Taloff hit a three-pointer with 21 seconds remaining in regulation to make it a one-point game, 68-67, but STU hit four of its final six free throws in the closing seconds to hold on for the victory. The Cougars fall to 12-4 overall this season with the loss, while Saint Thomas improves to 6-5 on the year.
Senior guard Stan Mayfield (Snellville, Ga./McKendree University/Snellville) had a solid all-around game with 16 points, five assists and four steals. Senior guard Marco Samimy (Peterson Woods, Ill./CICS-Northtown Academy) and junior point guard Ed Gilgenbach (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac) each chipped in 12 points for Saint Xavier, while freshman guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) scored 11 points. The Cougars had difficulty rebounding in Monday's loss with Saint Thomas owning a 42-20 advantage in the battle of the boards. SXU got off to a hot start leading by as many as 10 points (15-5) just six minutes into play before STU stormed back and tied the game midway through the first half. Saint Thomas would sustain the momentum for the remainder of the first frame leading by as many as 17 points before taking an 11-point lead, 43-32, into the break. The Cougars trailed by as many as 20 points in second-half action, but used a late scoring surge in the final four minutes to make things interesting in the closing seconds.
Saint Xavier (12-4 overall/0-1 CCAC) wraps up its Florida trip on Tuesday, January 4, with a game against Northwood University (Fla.). The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. (central) start.