Men's Basketball - Thu, Mar. 3, 2005
CHICAGO - Senior guard Phillip Watson (Chicago, Ill./Von Stueben) came up big in the final home game of his Saint Xavier University career scoring a game-high 27 points to lead the No. 13 ranked and No. 2 seeded Cougars to a 78-65 win over No. 3 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) Thursday in the semi-finals of the 2005 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Tournament at the Shannon Center in Chicago. SXU (28-5 overall) will head to the Gentile Center on the campus of Loyola University on Saturday, March 5, to take on No. 5 ranked and No. 1 seed Robert Morris College (Ill.) in the CCAC Championship at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to Watson, several other Cougars had impressive individual performances in Thursday's victory. Junior forward Jabari Saunders (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township) finished with 16 points and a game-high tying 10 rebounds, while senior forward Michael Rojas (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) just missed a double-double outing with 12 points and nine boards. Senior forward Eric Regan (St. Charles, Ill./Drake University) came off the bench to provide a lift for the Cougars with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Saint Xavier did not have its best shooting performance of the season hitting just 43 percent (26-for-60) of its shots from the field. However, the Cougars took care of the ball committing just 10 turnovers in the game compared to 15 ONU miscues. SXU was also tough on the boards outrebounding the Tigers, 39-31, in the game and also had a nice performance as a team at the free-throw line hitting 81 percent (21-for-26) of its attempts from the charity stripe.
The game was back-and-forth in the first half with eight lead changes and five ties. SXU held a 32-29 advantage heading into halftime behind 11 points from Watson. In the second half, the Cougars never trailed although ONU stayed within striking distance all the way to the last two minutes of play. With 2:10 remaining in the game and SXU clinging to a four-point lead, 64-60, Regan hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to keep the Tigers at bay.