CHICAGO – Capping the championship game of the tournament with 23 points and 10 rebounds, senior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in leading No. 10 ranked Saint Xavier University to an 85-76 win over No. 14 Bellevue University (Neb.) in Monday's championship game of the 2013 SXU Midwest Tournament on Bob Hallberg Court at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (13-2 overall) came alive scoring 51 points and shooting 56 percent (18-for-32) in the second half after trailing 41-34 at the break. Junior guard Jack Krieger (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) was instrumental in the second-half surge scoring 21 points, including three three-pointers.
Senior point guard Michael Simpson (North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) finished with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. Sophomore forward Josh Mawhorr (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) was a force as well recording 12 points, six rebounds and team-best five assists. The Bruins were led by sophomore guard Taylor Young with 14 points and five assists. Bellevue controlled the tempo of the game in the first half and Saint Xavier never led in the opening frame despite tying the score seven different times.
The Bruins built their largest lead of the night, 47-36, in the first minute of the second half on a three-pointer by senior guard Given Kalipinde. The three-pointer lit a fire under the Cougars, who went on a 16-0 run over the game's next five minutes to take a 52-47 lead. Six SXU players scored on the key run, including five points by Simpson. The Cougars sustained the momentum and extended their lead to 13 points, 67-54, with eight minutes remaining in regulation on a pair of Krieger free throws. The Bruins got no closer than six points the rest of the way as SXU hit crucial free throws down the stretch to ice the victory.
Saint Xavier (13-2 overall/4-1 CCAC) takes an extended break for the holiday season and returns to action after the New Year with a home game against Silver Lake College (Wis.) on Sunday, January 5. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at the Shannon Center.