College Basketball: With Jack Krieger back, St. Xavier finds its stride
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media January 2, 2014 7:52PM
St. Xavier's Jack Krieger (33) and Brad Karp defend during Monday night's game against Bellevue. | Supplied photo
Updated: February 4, 2014 6:28AM
The return of sharpshooting junior Jack Krieger has been quite a boost for St. Xavier.
How big? Well, the Cougars haven’t lost since the Plainfield North alum returned earlier than expected from a torn ACL.
“We’ve won nine straight since he’s been back,” St. Xavier coach Tom O’Malley said. “He’s really came on well. He’s hitting shots and he adds a lot to our offense.”
Krieger had 21 points as the 10th-ranked Cougars (13-2) topped No. 14 Bellevue (Neb.) on Dec. 23 in the championship game of the St. Xavier Midwest Tournament.
He’s averaging 14.9 points per game on the season and has connected on 21-of-51 three-point attempts.
“It feels great to be back playing with my team,” Krieger said. “When I was out for six months, I was really able to strengthen my game. I worked on my shot a lot and I feel like it’s paying off.”
The Cougars will return from a 13-day layoff to host Silver Lake College (Wis.) at 3 p.m. Sunday and Trinity Christian at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
St. Xavier’s Morgan Stuut was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the fourth time this season after averaging 24 points and 14.5 rebounds over two wins in the St. Xavier Holiday Classic.
The junior was given the award three of the five times it was handed out in December.
The Cougars went 8-0 in December to improve to 13-3 overall and raise their national ranking to No. 8.
Lewis up for conference play
One might think Lewis’ men’s basketball team has a few things to celebrate heading into the new year.
The Flyers are 8-0, ranked No. 22 in the latest Division II poll and off to their best start since ripping off 13 wins to start the 1988-89 season. For the second time in three years, Lewis went unbeaten against nonconference foes.
Individually, Ryan Jackson joined the 1,000-point club in the Flyers’ 89-71 home win Tuesday over Trinity Christian. The 6-foot-2 junior guard is the 38th player in Lewis history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
However, those team and individual accolades don’t mean a hill of beans to the Great Lakes Valley Conference. A year ago, Lewis went 12-6 to take fourth in the East Division.
“When you go into conference, you can’t take a play off,” Jackson said. “Our conference is very tough. If you take a play off, you’re going to lose.”
One more for good measure
Trinity Christian’s women’s team earned its final win of the 2013 calendar year Monday, topping Spring Arbor (Mich.) 61-49 in the SportONE Classic in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Trolls finished 1-1 in the event and enter 2014 with a 5-11 record.
Caitlin Cody (Mother McAuley) led Trinity with 21 points and 16 rebounds in the victory while Brooke Bambrick added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Contributing: Dennis Nelson