Salt Lake City, Utah – Junior point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) finished with 20 points and 11 assists, but it was not enough to give the No. 24 ranked Saint Xavier University men's basketball team the victory in its season-opener Friday night in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Cougars (0-1 overall) fell to University of Montana-Western, 93-92, in the opening game of the four-team Westminster College Tipoff Classic at Behnken Field House. Sophomore forward Mark Peters (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) also had a solid outing for SXU Friday posting a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Montana-Western led for a majority of the first half, but Saint Xavier stayed within striking distance and made a late surge near the end of the first half to close to within four, 49-45, at the break. Green scored six of SXU's final nine points of the half to lead the charge. The Cougars carried that momentum into the second half and opened the frame with an 18-3 run to build a 63-52 lead with 15 minutes to play in regulation. The Bulldogs fought back and tied the game, 81-81, with just over six minutes remaining on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Gabe Rucker.
The two teams would swap leads over the next four minutes, but a lay-up by Peters and a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) put Saint Xavier ahead, 91-86, with 1:27 to play. However, senior guard Tyler Hurley took over and scored UM-Western's final seven points on a pair of three-pointers and the go-ahead free throw with a second remaining to secure the win. Senior guard Ed Gilgenbach (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac) scored 15 points for SXU, while junior point guard Anthony Grant (South Holland, Ill./Prairie State CC/Thornridge) had 14 points and Karp recorded 12 for the Cougars.
Saint Xavier (0-1 overall) wraps up play in the Westminster College Tipoff Classic with a Saturday match-up against the host Griffins. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (mountain) start at Behnken Field House.