Kansas City, Mo. - Behind a game-high 19 points by senior forward Michael Rojas (Burbank, Ill./Reavis), the No. 13 ranked Saint Xavier University men's basketball team was able to hold on and pick up the 60-55 win over Langston University (Okla.) in the first round of the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Tournament Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. With the victory, the Cougars (29-6 overall) advance to a second round Friday match-up where they will face the winner of the Faulkner (Ala.)/Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) game.
In addition to Rojas, junior guard Jason Reiter (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) and senior guard Phillip Watson (Chicago, Ill./Von Stueben) also scored in double figures for SXU with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Watson also had a huge game on the boards pulling down a game-high 11 caroms in the winning effort. Senior guard Rick Romeli (Lansing, Ill./Marian Catholic) also had a solid performance for Saint Xavier with eight points and seven rebounds.
The Cougars led for most of the game, but Langston would not go away. SXU had to overcome an uncharacteristic 24-turnover outing, but shot 67 percent (21-for-36) from the field and outrebounded the Lions, 36-29. Saint Xavier was also hot from beyond the three-point arc hitting seven of its 13 trey attempts in the game.
Langston ends its season with a 25-8 overall record. Junior guard Quentin Beaty led the Lions with 16 points and a team-high tying seven boards. After leading 27-22 at halftime, SXU built a nine-point advantage midway through the second half. Langston chipped away at the deficit and a three-pointer by senior forward Stephen Alexander with 56 seconds remaining in regulation brought Langston to within three, 58-55. Watson was able to convert one of his two free throw attempts in the final minute to keep the Lions at bay.View Official Boxscore