CHICAGO – Staying a perfect 7-0 in the month of December, the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team completed its Midwest Tournament with a 61-57 victory over Marian University (Ind.) to take the championship Saturday at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (11-3 overall) had their hands full with the Knights and despite leading by 11 points early in the second half, the game went down to the final seconds with key free throws by junior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso). Karp was dominant again posting game-highs of 26 points and 14 rebounds. Marian falls to 9-4 overall on the year with the loss. Following the championship, Karp was named the tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP), while senior point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) and sophomore guard Jack Krieger (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) earned spots on the all-tournament squad.
Green finished the championship just missing another double-double with 10 points and game-best nine assists. Krieger also hit double figures in scoring with 10 points to go along with seven rebounds. SXU started the game strong opening on a 10-2 run sparked by three-pointers by Krieger and Green. However, the Knights fought back and tied things up, 17-17, with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half on a jumper by junior guard Nick Achille. Achille also earned a spot on the all-tournament team scoring a team-high 22 points. The game went back and forth until the final two minutes of the half when Karp hit a jumper and a three-pointer to give the Cougars a six-point halftime advantage, 39-33.
A couple of big baskets by senior forward Dominique Harvey (Chicago, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) early in the second half put SXU ahead, 45-34, but Achille capped a 9-0 run for Marian and the Knights closed to within two, 45-43, with just under 14 minutes to play in the game. A lay-up by Green gave Saint Xavier an eight-point lead, 58-50, near the five-minute mark, but MU refused to go away and a big three-pointer by Achille made it a two-point game, 58-56, with 2:37 remaining. In the closing two minutes, Green came up with a big block for the Cougars and Karp pulled down a key offensive rebound to secure the victory.
Saint Xavier (11-3 overall/8-2 CCAC) takes some time off for Christmas and then heads out to California to take part in the two-day Westmont College Tournament. The Cougars take on Westminster College (Utah) on the tourney's first day on Friday, December 28. The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. (central) start.