Salt Lake City, Utah – Sophomore guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) finished with 25 points and nine rebounds, but it was not enough as the No. 24 ranked Saint Xavier University men's basketball team fell to Westminster College (Utah), 71-66, in the final game of the Westminster Tipoff Classic Saturday night at Behnken Field House in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Cougars (0-2 overall) led by as many as 14 points at two different points late in the first half, but could not sustain the lead late in the ballgame. SXU shot 37 percent (11-for-30) from the floor in second-half action, including just 11 percent (1-for-9) from beyond the three-point arc.
Some of the other key performers for Saint Xavier Saturday were senior guard Ed Gilgenbach (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac), junior point guard Anthony Grant (South Holland, Ill./Prairie State CC/Thornridge) and freshman forward Mark Peters (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy). Gilgenbach posted 11 points and four rebounds for the Cougars, while Grant and Peters each chipped in 10 points. Saint Xavier led nearly the entire first half, but a late 11-2 surge by the Griffins over the final three minutes of the frame cut the lead to just five, 41-36, at the break.
The Cougars built the lead back to double figures early in the second half leading by 10 points, 55-45, with just under 13 minutes to play. However, Westminster chipped away and tied things up, 63-63, with 4:34 remaining. A pair of free throws by the Griffins with just over three minutes to play gave them a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. A lay-up by Peters would make it a two-point game, 68-66, with 1:22 to play, but SXU missed two three-point attempts in the final minute and were forced to foul giving Westminster the chance to pull away for good.
Saint Xavier (0-2 overall) heads back to Chicago and will host its home opener on Wednesday, November 9, against Calumet College of St. Joseph (Ind.). The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Shannon Center.