CHICAGO - Senior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) and junior guard Jack Krieger (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) combined for 43 points and 18 rebounds to aid No. 4 ranked Saint Xavier University's 84-72 win over rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) men's basketball action Saturday at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (20-2 overall/10-1 CCAC) extended their win streak to 16 games with the victory and are just a game away from tying the program's longest win streak of 17 games set twice (2012-13 & 1988-89). Karp finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Krieger was right behind with 21 points and six boards. Karp also moved up to No. 8 all-time in Illinois college basketball scoring history with 2,611 career points surpassing Eastern Illinois University standout Henry Domercant (2000-03) with 2,602 points.
Senior point guard Michael Simpson (North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) was tough as well for SXU totaling 11 points and game-high six assists, while sophomore forwards Josh Mawhorr (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) and Tony Core (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park) each chipped in eight points. The Cougars were strong down low with 44 of the team's points coming in the paint Saturday. Saint Xavier also was aggressive on the boards hauling in 43 rebounds, including 14 offensive caroms which led to 17 second-chance points in the game. Fighting Saints junior guard Chris Miller led all scorers with 23 points on the afternoon.
After falling behind 11-7 in the game's opening minutes, the Cougars got a three-point play by Karp that sparked a 14-0 run and helped build a double-digit lead, 21-11, with 11 minutes to play in the first half. SXU held a double-digit advantage for most of the rest of the frame, but a late surge by USF made it a seven-point game, 40-33, at the break. The Fighting Saints came out strong in the second half quickly erasing the deficit and taking a 41-40 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Edvinas Presniakovas. However, the Cougars regrouped and used a 22-6 run later in the frame to take control of the game for good.
Saint Xavier (20-2 overall/10-1 CCAC) continues its season on Wednesday, January 29, with a conference road game against Holy Cross College (Ind.). The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. (eastern) start in South Bend, Ind.