The Purdue University Calumet men’s basketball team saw its season come to an end in a 81-68 loss to St. Xavier University in the quarterfinals of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Wednesday night at the Shannon Center.
Junior big man Ryan Rader (Lombard, Ill./Willowbrook) notched his ninth double-double of the season, recording 18 points and 12 rebounds and senior Kaspars Brencans (Riga, Latvia/Florida Air Academy) also racked up 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting in his final game as a Peregrine.
Classmate Aaron Davis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) also finished his career with the Black and Gold on a high note, scoring 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting, adding five assists, two rebounds and one steal.
St. Xavier (20-10) took control for most of the first half, thanks to the stellar play from Senior Jack Krieger, who racked up four trifectas in the first 10 minutes of the half to give the North second-seeded Cougars an early 27-14 advantage.
St. Xavier held on to the lead for the remainder of the half, as it took a 44-29 lead heading in to the break.
The Peregrines (15-15) came out of the locker strong, jumping out on a 10-2 run after Noah Allen (Flora, Ind./Carroll) and junior Dayvohn Braxton (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) each connected in the paint, followed by three straight field goals by Brencans to cut the Cougars lead to just five, 44-39, with just under 17 minutes left to play.
The Black and Gold fought hard throughout the remainder of the half, going back and forth with the Cougars and keeping the lead within 10 points with just over 12 minutes remaining.
Purdue Calumet would use final push down the stretch, as a Brencans layup at the 1:53 mark cut the lead to seven, 71-64. But the Cougars would use a perfect 4-for-4 performance at the free-throw line to seal it late.
In his final game for the Black and Gold, Allen recorded four points and tied his season-high with seven assists in just 19 minutes.
The Peregrines shot 52.8 percent (28 of 53) from the field for the game, compared to the Cougars’ 56.0 percent (28 of 50) performance. SXU did its most damage from 3-point land, connecting on 7 of 13 shots compared to the Peregrines’ 0-4 performance from deep.
Purdue Calumet won the rebound battle, 32-22, but was outscored in the paint by a 54-40 margin.
Krieger finished with 27 points and Quinn Niego added 15 points for the Cougars, who advance to Friday’s semifinals to take on No. 1 seed Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais Friday night.
After going 3-6 in their first nine games of the season, the Peregrines started to win in bunches, winning 5 of 6 games midway through the season, and finished the season winning five of their last eight to finish the season with a 15-15 overall record.