Milwaukee, Wis. – Despite game-bests of 23 points, 10 rebounds and three steals by junior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso), the No. 7 ranked and No. 2 seeded Saint Xavier University men's basketball team had its 17-game win streak come to an end Saturday afternoon with a tough 84-75 loss to No. 2 ranked and No. 1 seeded Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) in the championship game of the 2013 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Tournament at Panella Court in Milwaukee, Wis. The Wolves got hot offensively when it counted the most shooting 57 percent (16-for-28) in the second half, including a 46-percent clip (5-for-11) from beyond the arc, to pull away late in the game. SXU trailed 39-37 at halftime after leading for most of the opening frame, but CSU never trailed in the second half and used a 14-5 run late in the frame to build a 74-62 lead with 2:09 to play.
Joining Karp in double figures Saturday were senior forward Dominique Harvey (Chicago, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) with 18 points, including four three-pointers, as well as senior point guard Anthony Grant (Calumet City, Ill./Prairie State CC/Thornridge) and sophomore guard Jack Krieger (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North). Grant finished with 12 points, while Krieger chipped in 11 points with nine coming off a trio of three-pointers. Senior point guard Roosevelt Green (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) was solid as well recording nine points and team-high four assists. Fouls and turnovers proved to be an issue for the Cougars Saturday. Four Saint Xavier players finished with four or more fouls en route to 25 total fouls for the team. SXU also racked up an uncharacteristic 15 turnovers in the ballgame. Senior guard Nick Ford led the Wolves with 18 points and 10 assists.
Things looked promising for the Cougars early on with the visitors jumping out to a quick 11-4 lead behind six early points by Grant. Cardinal Stritch got some momentum going though and tied the game at 16-16 with 11:42 to play in the opening half. However, SXU responded right back with a 10-2 run capped by a three-pointer from Krieger to go ahead by eight, 26-18. CSU rallied again and cut it to a point, 31-30, on a pair of free throws by Ford with 5:14 remaining. The Wolves took their first lead (36-35) since the opening possession on a tip-in bucket by senior center Darren Moore with 1:37 left in the half. The Cougars kept it close in the second half never allowing Cardinal Stritch to build higher than an eight-point advantage for the first 14 minutes of the frame. Unfortunately for SXU, back-to-back three-pointers by sophomore guard Tony Smit turned a six-point deficit into a 12-point hole with just over two minutes remaining. The Cougars got big three-pointers by Green and Karp in the closing seconds, but the Wolves hit enough of their free throws to secure the victory.
Due to its second place finish in the conference standings and as tournament runner-up, Saint Xavier still earns one of the conference's two automatic bids to the 2013 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championships. The 32-team tournament kicks off on Wednesday, March 6, in Point Lookout, Mo. The seeds and pairings for the national tournament are scheduled to be released by the NAIA national office on Wednesday, February 27, at around 7 p.m. (central).