Sophomore Aaron Larson scored a team-high 20 points against No. 4 St. Xavier on Saturday
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Very few opportunities that allow a team to put a stamp on its schedule are available during the season. January 18, against No. 4 St. Xavier University (Ill.), was that day for the Olivet Nazarene
University men’s basketball team. The Tigers’ long-time conference rival had won 12 straight games and averaged more than 95 points per game. The game was
tied with 31 seconds to play, but Olivet eventually lost 68-67, falling just
short of the upset.
The Tigers (7-11, 5-4) fell behind 8-2 and 19-11 with 12:42
to play. However, a 15-4 run over the next six minutes helped ONU build a
five-point lead. Only three minutes later, the Tigers put in a jump shot for a
seven-point lead and, with 1:57 to play, led by eight — giving them a
comfortable lead. However, the Cougars (18-2, 8-1) would end the half by scoring
two three-pointers off the hands of sharp-shooter Jack Krieger, the last coming with time running out and off a loose ball. ONU led by four at the break.
In the first half, Olivet shot 15-for-29 from the field (51.7
percent), 4-for-10 from the three-point line (40 percent) and 2-for-4 from the
free-throw line (50 percent). They outrebounded the Cougars 21-15. The Tigers
had eight offensive rebounds and committed 11 turnovers. St. Xavier shot 37.5
percent from the field, 33.3 percent from the three-point line and 83.3 percent
from the free-throw line. The Cougars committed eight first-half turnovers and
had seven offensive rebounds.
Olivet ran out of the gates in the second half, scoring a
quick 10 points in four and one-half minutes and building their largest lead,
46-35. St. Xavier didn’t let the lead get any bigger as they cut the deficit
and made it a lead only four minutes later, taking a lead of their own, 49-48.
With 7:02 to play, the Tigers had regained the lead (57-52) and were up four
with just over five minutes to play. Nonetheless, the Tigers were plagued by the
Cougars' free-throw shooting that remained steady throughout the second half
(12-20). Krieger was able to tie the game at the 3:34 mark. Again at the 2:39
mark, ONU scored on a lay-up to take a 64-61 mark, but again Krieger scored on a
lay-up and, on their next possession following a turnover, hit a three-pointer to
take a 66-64 lead. Down three with 31 seconds to play, ONU tied the game on an Aaron Larson (Tolono, Ill.)
three-pointer. On the Cougars' final possession, Brad Karp was fouled by and made
only one free-throw. The Tigers turned the ball over with six seconds left and a final attempt to win.
Sophomore Aaron Larson led the Tigers with 20 points on 9-for-14
shooting from the field, 1-for-3 from the three-point line and 1-for-1 from the
free-throw line. He added seven rebounds and two steals in only 33 minutes.
Farchmin (Mahomet, Ill.) finished with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting,
1-for-1 from the three-point line and 1-for-1 from the free-throw line. He
added five rebounds and two assists in 36 minutes.
Junior Austin Davis
(North Augusta, S.C.) finished with a 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting and
3-for-8 from the three-point line. He added two rebounds and seven assists in 36
minutes. Davis made three three-pointers (54 this
season), giving him 133 in his career. He is now 17th all-time in Tiger history.
Senior Tony Banks
(Peoria, Ill.) finished with a nine points on 4-for-9 shooting from the
field and 1-for-2 from the free-throw line. He added three rebounds and four
steals in 36 minutes.
Junior Zach Wagner
(Roselle, Ill.) finished with eight points, making 4-of-9 field goals. He
also finished with nine rebounds and four assists.
Jack Krieger led St. Xavier with 31 points on 9-for-20
shooting from the field, 5-for-10 from the three-point line and 8-for-10 from
the free-throw line. He added one assists and four steals in 40 minutes. Brad
Karp finished with 15 points on 4-for-9 shooting and 7-for-12 from the
free-throw line, and had four rebounds and three assists in 40 minutes. Michael
Simpson added 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in 38 minutes.
Overall, the Tigers shot 28-for-56 from the field (50
percent), 6-for-19 from the three-point line (31.6 percent) and 5-for-9 from the
free-throw line (55.6 percent). They outrebounded the Cougars 36-27, and
committed 20 turnovers and totaled 17 assists, with 13 offensive rebounds and
St. Xavier shot 22-for-51 from the field (43.1 percent), 7-for-16
from beyond the arc (43.8 percent) and 17-for-26 from the free-throw line (65.4
percent). The Cougars had nine assists, 14 turnovers, 10 offensive rebounds and
ONU will be back on the court Saturday, Jan. 22, on the road
against conference opponent Trinity International (Ill.) at 7:30 p.m.