Phoenix, Ariz. - Trailing by 15 points with just over a minute to play, the No. 11 ranked Saint Xavier University men's basketball team made a ferocious rally attempt closing to within five, 78-73, with 30 seconds remaining, but that was as close as it got as No. 16 (NAIA Division I) Arizona Christian College captured an 83-76 home victory Friday night in Phoenix, Ariz. Senior guards Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) and Michael Simpson (North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) combined for 50 of SXU's 76 points in the game. Karp led the Cougars with 27 points and five steals, while Simpson tallied 23 points and five rebounds.
Sophomore forward Josh Mawhorr
(Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) finished with nine points and a team-leading six rebounds for SXU. For the second straight game, the Cougars struggled shooting the ball hitting just 37 percent (25-for-68) of their attempts from the field and just 64 percent (18-for-68) of their free throw tries. Rebounding also hurt SXU Friday as the Firestorm pulled down 47 boards compared to just 30 for the visiting Cougars. Things looked promising early for Saint Xavier building a 13-4 lead in the game's first four minutes and a 25-12 advantage with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.
Leading 31-18 with seven minutes to play in the half, SXU's offense went ice cold scoring just two points the rest of the frame as Arizona Christian closed out the half on a 17-2 run. The Firestorm extended the lead to nine points at the midpoint of the second half, but a lay-up by Mawhorr with six minutes to play made it a four-point game, 58-54. With just under two minutes remaining, the Firestorm got a quick surge of points to push its lead to 15 points, 76-61, with 1:16 to play. The Cougars hit some big shots down the stretch, including a pair of three-pointers by Simpson, but in the end, the deficit proved to be too much.
Saint Xavier (4-2 overall/0-1 CCAC) takes a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday before hosting the SXU Classic starting on Friday, November 29. The Cougars have another tough match-up on the first day of the two-day Classic taking on No. 17 ranked Madonna University (Mich.) at 6 p.m. at the Shannon Center in Chicago.