By: Lucas Packer
The Titan men went on the road tonight for a key conference contest against the #23 ranked Cougars of St. Xavier University. The Cougars came into the game #2 in the CCAC, just one game ahead of the #3 Titans, making this a very important contest. IU South Bend defeated St. Xavier earlier in the season at home but this time around it was the Cougars protecting their home floor. The Titans played well, putting three players into double-figures, and fought hard down the stretch to stay in the game, but several turnovers in the last five minutes was too much to overcome and IU South Bend lost 68-58.
The first half was close, with each team shooting well. SXU shot 44% while the Titans shot a scorching 52%. Despite the hot shooting, however, the halftime score was 33-28 in favor of the home team. The second half saw a lot more back and forth action. The Cougars went up by double figures with about ten minutes to go but then a quick 10-2 by the Titan, keyed by the outside shooting of Steven Heatherly, got IU South Bend back into it with about five minutes to go. At that point, unfortunately, St. Xavier played like the higher ranked team, attacking the offensive glass and forcing the Titans into turnovers. A big rebound and put-back by player-of-the-year candidate Brad Karp turned into a three-point play as he drew the foul and a monster slam off of an offensive rebound by Tony Core provided the spark for the Cougars down the stretch.
IU South Bend was led by Steven Heatherly with 16 points and 7 rebounds, Chris Beam with 14 points and 6 rebounds, and Alanzo Bass, who tallied 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in the loss. Austin Fox also played well, including handling the task of guarding Karp for much of the game, and finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Despite Fox's inspired defensive effort, St. Xavier was led by Karp with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Karp has won three of the last four CCAC Player of the Week Awards, so his strong play was no surprise. IU South Bend actually won the battle of the boards 32-26 and shot one percentage point better than the Cougars at 48%, but it wasn't enough as SXU secured the victory.
With the loss the Titans fall to 12-7 (9-4 CCAC) on the year and stay locked in at third place in the conference.They are next in action on Thursday, January 10 as they face off at home against crosstown and conference opponent Holy Cross. The game will be in the SAC and is slated to tip-off at 7:30pm. For those unable to attend, the game will be broadcast LIVE at www.iusbtitans.com.