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Men’s College Basketball: St. Xavier stings Trinity Christian

Trinity Christian's Jake Van Den Berg (34) shoots against St. Xavier Chicago Wednesday January 8 2014. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times

Trinity Christian's Jake Van Den Berg (34) shoots against St. Xavier in Chicago Wednesday, January, 8, 2014. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 10, 2014 11:54AM



A great offense requires a great point guard, and Michael Simpson is running the show with extreme proficiency as St. Xavier continues to light up opposing defenses.

Wednesday night, the senior added a hot shooting touch to his playmaking abilities, pouring in 25 points and dishing out five assists as the No. 7 Cougars rolled to a 111-84 win over Trinity Christian in a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at the Shannon Center in Mount Greenwood.

“(Simpson) is lightning-fast,” St. Xavier’s Brad Karp said. “He gets into the lane, he gets us the ball in great positions to score and he just makes things easy for all of us.”

Simpson was 9-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-9 from three-point land as the Trolls consistently dared him to shoot.

“They sagged off me and coach (Tom O’Malley) told me that if they do that, just hit the open shots,” Simpson said. “We have a smart team, and everyone knows what we want to do to keeping winning games and win a national championship.”

Karp led St. Xavier (15-2, 5-1) with 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He’s now just 16 points away from breaking the program’s career points record, and will have a great chance to do it Saturday when the Cougars visit Indiana-South Bend.

Jack Krieger (16 points, 6 rebounds), Tinley Park alum Tony Core (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Stagg product Darius Draper (10 points, 6 rebounds) also had big nights as the Cougars surpassed the 110-point mark for the second straight game.

“Our offense is playing well,” Karp said. “We have a lot of people scoring. We just need to buckle down defensively. We know championship teams play great defense.”

Jared Jones hit 6-of-14 three-point attempts and finished with 22 points to lead Trinity (4-13, 0-6). Jake Van Den Berg added 16 points.

St. Xavier raced to a 21-7 lead seven minutes in as Karp got hot early, scoring nine quick points. Core had 10 of his points before the break, and led a Cougars’ rebounding attack that was a huge reason they led 53-35 at halftime.

“They had nine offensive rebounds in the first half and converted seven them into points,” Trinity coach Brandon Nicol said. “If we finished those stops with rebounds, we could have been right in the game.

“We know St. Xavier is one of the best teams in the nation. We have a very young team, so playing great teams like this and learning from it is the best thing we can do.”

St. Xavier shot 58 percent (43-of-74) from the field while Trinity finished at 43 percent (30-of-69).

Lemont alum Joe Hehir and Cody Rhorer each scored 11 points for Trinity.



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