CHICAGO – Senior guards Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) and Michael Simpson (North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) combined for 46 points and 10 assists, but the No. 4 ranked Saint Xavier University men's basketball team came up short in its huge NAIA and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) showdown with No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) Saturday falling 93-84 on Bob Hallberg Court at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (21-3 overall/11-2 CCAC) saw its school record-tying 17-game win streak come to an end with Saturday's loss. It was the first home loss for SXU since November 20, 2012, when Cardinal Stritch captured an 86-81 victory at the Shannon Center.
Karp led the Cougars with 25 points to go along with team-bests of nine rebounds and four steals. Simpson recorded 21 points and a game-high eight assists, while sophomore forward Josh Mawhorr (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) hit seven of his nine shot attempts from the field for 19 points. The Wolves got a game-best 26 points from freshman guard Tyler Semenas. Cardinal Stritch shot an impressive 60 percent (31-for-52) from the field. Saint Xavier hit 50 percent (31-for-62) of its shot attempts, but racked up 23 fouls, which helped send the Wolves to the free throw line 32 times.
The Cougars got off to a hot start opening the game with an 11-4 run capped by a lay-up by Karp. SXU kept the momentum going and took a 29-15 lead on a three-pointer by freshman guard Kyle Huppe (Edgerton, Kan./Gardner Edgerton) with 11 minutes to play in the half. The Wolves fought back though and narrowed the gap to just four points, 41-37, heading into the break. Stritch opened the second half with back-to-back three-pointers, which sparked an 11-2 run for the visitors giving them a 48-43 lead. SXU kept it close the rest of the way, but despite closing to within a basket multiple times down the stretch, CSU answered with big shots to keep the hosts at bay.
Saint Xavier (21-3 overall/11-2 CCAC) hosts conference foe Purdue University-Calumet (Ind.) on Wednesday, February 5. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Shannon Center.