Men's Basketball - Thu, Nov. 4, 2004
CHICAGO - Junior guard Jason Reiter (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) finished with a game-high 19 points as the Saint Xavier University men's basketball team made things interesting against NCAA Division I DePaul University, 72-64, in Thursday night's exhibition match-up at the DePaul Athletic Center in Chicago. Senior guard Phillip Watson (Chicago, Ill./Von Stueben) also scored in double figures for the Cougars with 14 points. The game got off to a slow start offensively with DePaul leading just 2-0 after the game's first five minutes, but Watson was able to tie the game 2-2 with a turn-around jumper near the top of the key. SXU later took its first lead of the game 7-4 on a three-pointer by Reiter with 11:47 remaining in the first half.
The Cougars maintained the lead over the next two minutes going ahead by as many as four, 10-6, before DePaul went on an 11-0 run over the next three minutes to build a 17-10 advantage. Two free throws by senior guard Rick Romeli (Lansing, Ill./Marian Catholic) cut the lead to five, 17-12, with 6:50 left in the first half. SXU kept things close for most of the remainder of the half before DePaul closed out the final minute with a 4-0 run to take a 28-19 halftime lead.
A three-pointer by senior guard Mike Brown (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle) early in the second half put SXU within eight, 30-22. Senior forward Michael Rojas (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) scored jumpers on back-to-back possessions for the Cougars to bring Saint Xavier to within six, 35-29, at the 14:14 mark, but DePaul's Draelon Burns scored two quick jumpers of his own to put the Blue Demons up 10, 39-29.
A three-pointer by Reiter narrowed the deficit to seven, 39-32, and the two teams battled back-and-forth over the game's next five minutes with SXU keeping the game close. Unfortunately for the Cougars, DePaul hit its free throws down the stretch which kept Saint Xavier from creeping too close in the final minutes. However, a late surge by Reiter with a three-pointer and a lay-up in the final two minutes of regulation helped pull the Cougars to within eight as time expired.
Other notable performers for SXU included junior forward Jabari Saunders (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township) with eight points and eight rebounds as well as Rojas, who recorded eight points and six rebounds. Romeli also had a nice night for the Cougars with seven points and eight rebounds.
Saint Xavier opens its 2004-05 season on Tuesday, November 9, with a home game against Trinity Christian College (Ill.). Game time is set for 7 p.m.