Santa Barbara, Ca. – Despite a game-best 24 points by junior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso), the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team had its eight-game win streak snapped Friday evening in a tough 73-70 loss to No. 7 ranked (NAIA Division I) Westminster College of Salt Lake City (Utah) in the opening game of the four-team Westmont College Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Cougars found themselves in a see-saw battle throughout the game with neither team able to build a comfortable lead in the contest. SXU closed to within a point, 67-66, on a pair of free throws by Karp with 1:22 to play in regulation, but the Griffins made a key lay-up and hit all four of their free throws attempts in the final seconds to hold on for the victory.
Senior guard Anthony Grant (Calumet City, Ill./Prairie State CC/Thornridge) returned after missing a game due to injury and scored 12 points for Saint Xavier. Senior point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) continued his stellar all-around play finishing the night with 13 points, six assists and seven steals. Senior forward Dominique Harvey (Chicago, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) made his presence felt for the Cougars posting a double-double effort of 11 points and 11 rebounds. SXU built an eight-point lead (25-17), which was the largest of the night by either team, with just over six minutes to go in the first half after a lay-up by Karp. The Griffins then answered with a 10-2 run over the next three minutes to knot the game up at 27-27. Saint Xavier took a 37-32 lead into the halftime intermission. Westminster came out firing in the second half and went ahead, 59-58, with just under seven minutes to go in the game off a lay-up by junior guard Blake Skidmore. SXU fought back to tie the game, 63-63, with a little over three minutes to play before junior forward Tallon Robertson put WMU for good on a jumper to give the Griffins a two-point lead, 65-63, that they would not relinquish. The Cougars put up a valiant rally attempt over the final three minutes, but fell just short in their attempt for a ninth straight victory.
Saint Xavier (11-4 overall/8-2 CCAC) will take on the losing team in tonight's match-up between host Westmont College (Calif.) and William Jessup (Calif.) in tomorrow's consolation game. The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. (central) start.