Men's Basketball - Sat, Dec. 11, 2004
CHICAGO - Junior guard Jason Reiter (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) finished with a team-high 23 points, including four three-pointers, but the No. 17 ranked (NAIA Division I) Saint Xavier University men's basketball team could not complete its second half rally attempt falling 78-69 to No. 7 (NAIA Division II) Cornerstone University (Mich.) Saturday at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars fall to 8-2 overall with the loss and end a four-game win streak.
The only other SXU player to score in double figures Saturday was senior guard Rick Romeli (Lansing, Ill./Marian Catholic) with 14 points off the bench. Junior forward Jabari Saunders (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township) and senior guard Phillip Watson (Chicago, Ill./Von Stueben) each finished with nine points for the Cougars, while senior forward Michael Rojas (Burbank,
Ill./Reavis) chipped in seven points. Rojas led Saint Xavier on the boards with six rebounds, while Saunders grabbed five. SXU shot just 41 percent from the field (23-for-56) in the game compared to 51 percent shooting (23-for-45) from Cornerstone, including 58 percent (11-for-19) from beyond the arc.
SXU kept the game close for the first 10 minutes of the first half never trailing by more than five points. However, the Golden Eagles unleashed a barrage of three-pointers (eight in the first half) and were able to build a 19-point lead with 3:25 remaining before halftime. SXU got tough in the final three minutes with big tough play on both ends of the floor from Reiter and key lay-ups from Romeli and Saunders to close within13 at the break.
In the second half, the Cougars came out firing and used a 12-5 run in the first three minutes to cut the Cornerstone lead to six, 44-38, on a fast-break lay-up by Romeli. SXU kept up the tough play and trimmed the lead to one, 54-53, with 8:27 to play in regulation on two free throws by Romeli. Unfortunately for Saint Xavier that was as close as it would get the rest of the way, the Golden Eagles got two big three-pointers by Brandon Voorhees, who finished with a game-high 25 points, in the final seven minutes and made their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Saint Xavier hosts East-West University (Ill.) on Tuesday, December 14, at 7 p.m. at the Shannon Center in Chicago.