CHICAGO - Key free throws in the closing seconds by junior guard Jack Krieger (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) and freshman point guard Kyle Huppe (Edgerton, Kan./Gardner Edgerton) allowed No. 10 ranked Saint Xavier University to hang on for a hard-fought 68-63 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) road win against Roosevelt University (Ill.) Thursday evening in NAIA men's basketball action at the Goodman Center in Chicago. Senior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) led the way for the Cougars finishing with 26 points and eight rebounds on the night. SXU relied heavily on its defense to aid the victory after turning in its lowest scoring output of the season (68) holding the Lakers to just 63 points and helping force 18 turnovers behind nine steals.
Senior point guard Michael Simpson
(North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) did a bit of everything for the Cougars Thursday recording 15 points, six assists and five steals. Krieger also scored in double figures posting 11 points, three rebounds and two steals in a reserve role. SXU came out strong in the first half shooting 56 percent (14-for-25) in the frame en route to a 36-32 halftime lead. A lay-up by Simpson late in the half gave Saint Xavier its largest lead of the night, 34-25, with 1:17 remaining, but the Lakers closed out the final minute with a 7-2 run to narrow the gap.
A pair of free throws by Karp early in the second half extended SXU's lead to seven, 44-37, but Roosevelt did not go away. The Lakers rallied and either tied the game or took the lead two times down the stretch before a series of four straight baskets by Karp, all on lay-ups off offensive rebounds, that began in the final six minutes of regulation helped the Cougars take the lead for good. Roosevelt cut the lead to two, 65-63, on a lay-up with 27 seconds to play, but Huppe split his two free throw attempts on SXU's next possession and, after a failed three-point attempt by RU to tie the game, Krieger sealed the road win on two free throws with three seconds remaining.
Saint Xavier (10-2 overall/4-1 CCAC) takes a break from conference play to host the eight-team SXU Midwest Tournament from December 21-23 at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars open the event with a 2 p.m. match-up Saturday against Goshen College (Ind.).