Bourbonnais, Ill. – Sophomore guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) led all scorers with 26 points, but the No. 3 seeded Saint Xavier University men's basketball team lost a heartbreaker to No. 2 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.), 76-71, in the semifinals of the 2012 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Division I Men's Basketball Tournament Thursday evening at McHie Arena in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Cougars (23-9 overall/7-3 CCAC) had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but missed a three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and a lay-up with eight seconds left. The Tigers got the rebound and senior guard Antonio Marshall sank two free throws with two seconds remaining to seal the win. SXU will now have to wait for the final NAIA Top 25 ranking scheduled to be released on Monday, March 5, to see if the team has a chance at one of the at-large bids for the NAIA National Tournament.
Junior point guard Anthony Grant (South Holland, Ill./Prairie State CC/Thornridge) also scored in double figures for the Cougars with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field. Saint Xavier struggled taking care of the ball throughout the game racking up 19 turnovers with 11 coming off Olivet Nazarene steals. It was a tight one in the first half with neither team leading by more than three points, but ONU hit two free throws in the final minute to take a 39-37 lead into the break. The Tigers never trailed in the second half, but the Cougars kept it close never letting the deficit get above nine points. A jumper by Karp with just over two minutes left in regulation made it a three-point game, 72-69. Both teams hit two free throws in the final two minutes to set up the interesting finish in the closing seconds.
Saint Xavier (23-9 overall/7-3 CCAC) will await next week's national ranking to see if the team has a chance to secure an at-large to the 2012 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championships. National tournament play is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 14, in Kansas City, Mo.