BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Following a big win on Tuesday night, the Tigers hosted conference rival St. Xavier University (Ill.) at McHie Arena for a late-week showdown. Throughout the early portion of the first half, it looked to be a good game. But the No. 23 Cougars took control over the last 30 minutes of the game, claiming an 81-64 win over ONU.
The start of the game was quick and exciting, as the first nine minutes witnessed seven lead changes and nine ties. However, from that point forward the Cougars (16-4, 12-2) went on a 9-1 run to take a nine-point lead with 7:38 to play. ONU (8-10, 6-8) closed the gap to six points twice over the next two minutes but failed to consistently score, falling behind by 14 with 2:14 to play. The Tigers only scored four points over the last 6:13 of the half.
In the first half, Olivet shot 12-for-35 from the field (34.3 percent), 3-for-6 from the three-point line (50 percent) and 5-for-8 from the free-throw line (62.5 percent). They outrebounded the Cougars 22-19 and committed six turnovers. St. Xavier shot 58.3 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from the three-point line and 33.3 percent from the free-throw line. The Cougars committed two first-half turnovers and had four offensive rebounds.
St. Xavier owned the second half with an immediate 15-6 run to start the half over the first six minutes to take a 25-point lead. Olivet had trouble scoring at times all night, especially from the 11:10 mark to the 5:35 mark — only putting up four points as St. Xavier maintained a 26-point lead, their largest of the night. The closest the Tigers were the rest of the half was by the final score.
Freshman Aaron Larson (Tolono, Ill.) finished with 17 points on 7-for-16 shooting from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. He also had seven rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes.
Sophomore Tony Banks (Peoria, Ill.) finished with 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting, 1-for-3 from the three-point line, and 1-for-2 from the free-throw line. He added six rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes.
Senior Ben Worner (Washington, Ill.) finished with 12 points on 3-for-10 shooting from the field, 3-for-6 from the three-point line, and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added six rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes.
Brad Karp led the Cougars with 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field, 1-for-4 from the three-point line, and 1-for-5 from the free-throw line. He added nine rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes. Josh Mawhorr finished with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting and had six rebounds in 24 minutes. Dominique Harvey added 16 points and seven rebounds, and Anthony Grant chipped in with 16 points and four assists.
Overall, the Tigers shot 25-for-63 from the field (39.7 percent), 5-for-13 from the three-point line (38.5 percent) and 9-for-12 from the free-throw line (75 percent). They outrebounded St. Xavier 41-31, committed 13 turnovers and totaled 18 assists, had 16 offensive rebounds and four steals.
St. Xavier shot 37-for-67 from the field (55.2 percent), 4-for-17 from beyond the arc (23.5 percent) and 3-for-9 from the free-throw line (33.3 percent). The Cougars had 21 assists, six turnovers, eight offensive rebounds and eight steals.
Worner has made 166 career three-pointers, good for 10th all-time. Worner is 10 behind Stan Chismark for ninth (176).
ONU will be back in action on Saturday, January 12, on the road against conference opponent Holy Cross College (Ind.) starting at 3 p.m. EST.