CHICAGO – Freshman forward Josh Mawhorr (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) scored a career-high 23 points to lead the No. 18 ranked Saint Xavier University men's basketball team to a hard-fought 80-76 win over Trinity Christian College (Ill.) in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action Wednesday night at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (18-4 overall/14-2 CCAC) struggled shooting the ball hitting just 42 percent (29-for-69) of their shot attempts in the game, including just 25 percent (3-for-12) from beyond the arc. Fortunately for SXU, the visiting Trolls had difficulty taking care of the basketball en route to 21 turnovers and the hosts capitalized scoring 34 of its 80 points off the miscues.
Sophomore guard Jack Krieger (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) had a nice night for the Cougars dropping 20 points to go along with seven rebounds. Junior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) picked up his ninth double-double effort of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while senior point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) dished out a team-best five assists. Junior guard Jake Van Den Berg led Trinity Christian with 16 points and sophomore forward Ezekiel Odonkor was tough on the boards with a game-best 15 rebounds. The Trolls shot 49 percent (29-for-59) from the floor.
The Cougars jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the game's first three minutes and controlled the early stages of the first half. With 5:44 to play in the frame, Mawhorr made a lay-up to put Saint Xavier ahead, 33-20, its largest lead of the half. However, the Trolls rallied and closed out the final five minutes of play with a 16-5 run, including a three-pointer at the buzzer by Van Den Berg, to trail by just two points, 38-36, at the break. The Cougars went ahead by 10 points, 54-44, early in the second half following a three-pointer by Karp, but the Trolls refused to go away and used an 11-0 run to take its first lead, 55-54, since the opening minute. The two teams battled back and forth until the final minute of regulation when key free throws by Krieger, Mawhorr and senior forward Dominique Harvey (Chicago, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) allowed SXU to secure the win.
Saint Xavier (18-4 overall/14-2 CCAC) heads to Milwaukee, Wis., this Saturday for a key conference match-up against No. 3 Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.). The game is slated for a 3 p.m. tip-off.