CHICAGO - Saint Xavier University freshman guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) hit a game-tying three-pointer with just under 10 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime in a tough road battle against the NAIA‘s top-ranked team. Unfortunately for the Cougars, No. 1 ranked Robert Morris University (Ill.) converted its free throws down the stretch in the extra frame and pulled away for a 96-89 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) victory over the visitors Saturday night at the Gentile Center in Chicago. Karp finished with game-highs of 32 points and 16 rebounds, leaving it all on the court in both team's regular season finale. SXU falls to 18-12 overall and 3-7 in the conference standings with the loss, while RMU improves to 28-1 overall and wins the CCAC regular season title with a perfect 10-0 mark.
Freshman forward Mark Peters (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) also played well for the Cougars Saturday scoring 16 points, while senior guard DeVon Chandler (Collinsville, Ill./Collinsville) chipped in 14. Sophomore point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) also had a nice night and shined brightest in the extra period finishing with 12 points and 11 assists for the game. Senior forward Reggie Bunch posted 27 points and nine rebounds to lead Robert Morris University. The game was everything a basketball fan could ask for with several dramatic shots, seven ties and five lead changes.
With just under two minutes to play in regulation, Saint Xavier led by a score of 75-70, but could not sustain it after missing a key free throw attempt and then turning the ball over on back-to-back possessions. With 30 seconds remaining, Bunch hit a pair of free throws to give the Eagles a 78-75 lead. The Cougars would wind the clock down to 10 seconds before Karp pulled up for an extra-long three-pointer and found the bottom of the net to tie things up. RMU would quickly drive the length of the court and put up a running jumper at the buzzer, but it would come up short and the game would advance to overtime. The Eagles would take control early in the extra frame and never trailed, but the Cougars would keep it close behind big shots by Karp and Green. However, late in the period, RMU would benefit from a pair of three-point plays on two straight possessions and hit all its free throws in the final minute to secure the seven-point victory.
Saint Xavier (18-12 overall/3-7 CCAC) will host No. 5 seed Indiana University-South Bend (IUSB) on Tuesday, March 1, for a first-round match-up in the 2011 CCAC Tournament. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at the Shannon Center in Chicago.