CHICAGO – Despite a game-high 22 points by senior guard Kyle Huppe (Edgerton, Kan./Gardner Edgerton), the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team struggled to score in the final three minutes of regulation and fell 71-64 to Roosevelt University (Ill.) in a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) road meeting Thursday night at the Goodman Center in Chicago. The Cougars (8-9 overall/5-4 CCAC) closed to within two at 62-60 on a free throw by junior point guard Quinn Niego (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) with 2:51 left to play, but the Lakers ended the game with a 9-4 run to secure the victory. Niego also had an impressive outing for SXU scoring 19 points, while recording team-bests of nine rebounds and six assists as well.
Freshman guard/forward Jack Brody (Lockport, Ill./UIndy/Providence Catholic) added nine points and game-best five steals, while sophomore point guard Jacob Strong (Koontz Lake, Ind./John Glenn) chipped in eight points and four assists. Shooting was an issue for the Cougars on the night as the team hit just 35 percent (20-for-58) of their shot attempts from the field. The Lakers jumped out to an early 10-2 edge, but SXU stormed back and took a 16-12 lead near the midpoint of the first half. The Cougars led 33-27 late in the first half, but RU used a surge in the final minute to trail by just a point, 33-32, at the half.
Roosevelt carried the momentum into the second half opening the new frame with a 13-0 run to build a 45-33 lead. Again, the Cougars fought back and trimmed the deficit to one (45-44) following a lay-up by Huppe with 12:33 remaining in regulation. A three-pointer by Strong tied the game at 51-51 a few minutes later, but SXU could not take a lead over the game's final eight minutes. The Lakers were impressive on the glass out-rebounding the Cougars, 41-28, for the game.
Saint Xavier (8-9 overall/5-4 CCAC) faces another tough conference battle on Saturday, January 7, hosting No. 19 ranked and CCAC rival University of St. Francis (Ill.). The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at the Shannon Center in Chicago.