CHICAGO – Despite career-bests of 39 points and 20 rebounds by sophomore guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso), the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team dropped a heartbreaker to No. 2 ranked Robert Morris University, 99-96, in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action Saturday afternoon at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The game was back-and-forth throughout with 20 lead changes and the score knotted up 10 different times. SXU led 41-40 at the half, but the two teams combined for 114 points after the break to help create a wild second half. The Cougars were impressive in the paint scoring 46 of their 96 points in the lane.
Junior point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) and senior guard Ed Gilgenbach (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac) each finished with 15 points for Saint Xavier. Gilgenbach also tallied eight rebounds and five assists in the game, while Green led the Cougars with six assists. Sophomore forward Mark Peters (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) was tough on the boards for SXU with 10 rebounds. Saint Xavier out-rebounded Robert Morris, 54-51, but struggled shooting the ball hitting just 36 percent (31-for-87) of its shots from the floor. The Eagles shot 43 percent (29-for-67) from the field, including an impressive 52 percent (12-for-23) from three-point range. The solid shooting effort helped offset 20 turnovers by RMU. Senior guard Diante Watkins led Robert Morris with 25 points and 11 assists.
The Cougars came out strong jumping out to a quick 9-3 lead in the game's opening two minutes behind a flurry of lay-ups. RMU would recover from the slow start and both teams would take turns taking the lead all the way down to the end of the half where a jumper by junior forward Dominique Harvey (Chicago, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) with 33 seconds left in the frame would give SXU the slight edge, 41-40. The second half was more of the same as Saint Xavier would build a seven-point advantage, 53-46, on a flurry of early lay-ups before Robert Morris would storm back to make it a one-possession game. With just under four minutes to play, the Eagles would take their biggest lead of the game, 89-79, on a free throw by Watkins. A pair of free throws by Karp at the 1:27 mark cut the deficit to three, 91-88, but RMU would hit six of its seven free throws in the closing seconds to seal the win.
Saint Xavier (17-7 overall/3-2 CCAC) will take on Trinity Christian College (Ill.) on Wednesday, February 8, in Palos Heights, Ill. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.