CHICAGO – Senior guards Brad Karp (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) and Michael Simpson (North Chicago, Ill./Cardinal Stritch/North Chicago) combined for 51 points, but it was not enough as the No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University men's basketball team fell to Robert Morris University (Ill.) in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play Wednesday night at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (23-4 overall/13-3 CCAC) had trouble slowing down the hot shooting of the Eagles, who connected on 52 percent (28-for-54) of their shot attempts from the field. Karp finished the night with 30 points and team-best eight rebounds, while Simpson tallied 21 points and game-high seven assists.
Robert Morris had three players score in double figures led by junior forward Courtney Bell with 19 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds. The Cougars shot just 38 percent (25-for-66) from the floor for the game, including a rough 6-for-28 clip (21 percent) from beyond the three-point arc. The game started off tight with the two teams tied 17-17 at the midpoint of the first half, but RMU used a 12-3 run over the next four minutes of play to build a 29-20 lead.
The Eagles maintained the nine-point edge heading into the halftime break leading 39-30, but the Cougars surged back early in the second half cutting the deficit to a point, 44-43, with 13:34 to play in the game. Unfortunately for SXU, Robert Morris went on a run of its own and built its lead back into double digits with five minutes remaining in regulation. The Cougars did not go down quietly closing to within four points in the final minute before the Eagles made key free throws to seal the victory. Karp surpassed 1,000 career field goals made in Wednesday's game moving his total to 1,007.
Saint Xavier (23-4 overall/13-3 CCAC) goes on the road on Saturday, February 15, for a conference match-up against Trinity International University (Ill.). The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start in Deerfield, Ill.