CHICAGO – Senior point guard Michael Simpson (North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) had a huge night with 26 points and 11 assists to lead the No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University men's basketball team to a convincing Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) victory over Purdue University-Calumet (Ind.), 90-61, Wednesday on Bob Hallberg Court at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (22-3 overall/12-2 CCAC) bounced back in a big way after suffering their first loss over the last 18 games in a 93-84 setback Saturday to No. 1 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.). Senior guard Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) and junior guard Jack Krieger (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) also had big scoring nights for SXU with 24 and 20 points, respectively.
The Cougars shot 59 percent (34-for-58) from the field in Wednesday's win and also dished out 24 assists as a team. Saint Xavier was equally tough defensively recording 11 steals, which helped lead to 20 PUC turnovers. Junior forward Kaspars Brencans led the Peregrines in scoring with 14 points on the night. SXU controlled the game from the opening tip jumping out to a 14-3 lead in the game's first five minutes and going ahead by as many as 17 points in the opening frame. Leading 45-30 at the break, SXU continued to pour it on in the second half and took a 32-point advantage, its largest of the game, with just under three minutes to play in regulation. Purdue-Calumet falls to 16-8 overall and 8-6 in conference play with the loss.
Saint Xavier (22-3 overall/12-2 CCAC) goes on the road this weekend to take on Judson University in a conference match-up. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start on Saturday, February 8, in Elgin, Ill.