Men's Basketball - Sat, Mar. 5, 2005
CHICAGO - Despite 21 points apiece by senior forward Michael Rojas (Burbank, lll./Reavis) and junior forward Jabari Saunders (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township), the No. 13 ranked and No. 2 seeded Saint Xavier University men's basketball team could not overcome the hot three-point shooting of No. 5 ranked and No. 1 seed Robert Morris College (Ill.) Saturday falling, 78-76, in the championship game of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Tournament at the Gentile Center in Chicago. The Cougars drop to 28-6 overall on the season and should, based on their national ranking, receive an at-large bid from the NAIA to participate in the National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., beginning Wednesday, March 16.
In addition to Rojas and Saunders, senior guard Phillip Watson (Chicago, Ill./Von Stueben) and junior guard Jason Reiter (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) each finished with 13 points for SXU. Rojas also led the Cougars on the boards with a team-high seven rebounds, while Watson dished out a team-high seven assists. Saint Xavier shot well from the field in the game hitting 59 percent of its shots (29-for-49).
Both teams shot well from the field in the first half with SXU hitting 71 percent of its shots (17-for-24) and RMC shooting 60 percent (18-for-30), including 11-for-17 of its three-point attempts. The Eagles took a 52-47 advantage into the locker room at halftime. In the second half, the Cougars were able to creep back and tied the game, 68-68, with 6:35 remaining in regulation. A dunk by Saunders with just under six minutes left gave SXU its first lead of the second half, 70-68.
However, another three-pointer by Robert Morris gave the Eagles back the lead for good with 3:30 left to play. Saint Xavier closed to within a point, 75-74, with just over a minute left on two free throws by Rojas, but the Cougars missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 17 seconds remaining and trailing 76-74.