Palos Heights, Ill. - Seniors Michael Simpson (North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) and Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) combined for 55 points as No. 11 ranked Saint Xavier University downed University of Saint Francis (Ind.), 84-73, in NAIA men's basketball action Friday night as part of the Trinity Christian College Troll Classic in Palos Heights, Ill. The Cougars improved to 3-0 on the season and led nearly the entire game leading by as many as 20 points midway through the second half. Simpson paced the winning effort with 28 points, while Karp tallied 27 points and a team-best tying seven rebounds.
Sophomore forward Josh Mawhorr (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) also had another nice outing for SXU recording 11 points and five rebounds. The Cougars played solid defense throughout the night, which helped lead to 18 turnovers for USF off 12 steals. Saint Francis opened the game with an early jumper to take a 2-0 lead, but that proved to be its only lead of the night as Saint Xavier rattled off nine straight points to take control. The Cougars scored 20 of their 84 points off USF turnovers. SXU led 42-37 at the half and used a 17-2 scoring run early in the second half to build a 65-45 advantage. Saint Francis closed to within nine points multiple times in the final minute, but that was as close as it would get as the Cougars hit key free throws in the closing seconds to secure the victory.
Saint Xavier (3-0 overall) completes play in the Troll Classic on Saturday, November 16, with a game against Great Lakes Christian College at the Trinity Athletics & Recreation Complex. The game is scheduled for a 12 p.m. tip-off.