Bourbonnais, Ill. - A career-high 31 points, including five three-pointers, by junior guard Jack Krieger (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) were key in a hard-fought 68-67 road win for No. 4 Saint Xavier University over Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) in men's college basketball action Saturday at McHie Arena in Bourbonnais, Ill. Senior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) hit a free throw with 6.5 seconds remaining in regulation that proved to be the difference maker as the Cougars stole the ensuing inbounds pass to hang on for the narrow victory. SXU survived one of its lowest shooting performances of the season hitting just 43 percent (22-for-51) of its field goal attempts and 65 percent (17-for-26) of its free throws.
Senior point guard Michael Simpson (North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) also finished in double figures in scoring for Saint Xavier with 11 points and three steals. Karp tallied 15 points for the Cougars in the road win. Krieger was strong defensively as well recording a game-leading four steals. SXU got tough when it was needed the most scoring eight points in the final three minutes of play, while ONU turned the ball over four times during the same stretch. The Tigers recorded 20 total turnovers in the game thanks in part to 10 Cougar steals.
Krieger sank a pair of free throws with 3:34 to play that tied the game at 60-60, but ONU responded right back with a short jumper to take back the lead. Karp split his two free throws on the next possession to make it a one-point affair, 62-61, with under three minutes to play. However, the Tigers answered again sinking a lay-up to extend the lead to three, 64-61. Krieger took over for the Cougars and sank a lay-up of his own and then a huge three-pointer off a Olivet turnover to put Saint Xavier up, 66-64, at the 1:32 mark. A three-pointer by the Tigers with 31 seconds left tied the game again, but SXU got just enough free throws from Karp in the closing minute to hold on for the victory.
Saint Xavier (18-2 overall/8-1 CCAC) returns home and hosts conference foe Calumet College of St. Joseph (Ind.) on Wednesday, January 22. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start on Bob Hallberg Court at the Shannon Center in Chicago.