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St. Xavier coach O’Malley lauds Karp, players for his 400 wins

1883 sxu Basketball 2006

1883 sxu Basketball 2006

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With 401 victories as St. Xavier’s men’s basketball coach, Tom O’Malley is quick to deflect the credit.

“I was just complimenting our players the other day because we had our 400th victory as a team, and coaches don’t have a lot to do with winning,” said O’Malley, who is in his 17th season with the 11th-ranked Cougars (8-2, 2-1 CCAC). “They have a lot to do with teaching. Players have a lot to do with winning.

“I came into my office and I have all kinds of pictures of all the players who have played, and I got a tear in my eye over all those wonderful young men I’ve been involved with over that period of time, and Brad [Karp] is certainly at the top of that list.”

Karp, a senior guard and returning NAIA Division II All-American, has been around for 79 of those wins, including the 100-81 triumph over Trinity International for No. 400 on Dec. 3 and the most recent victory, 90-67 over Judson last Saturday.

“I don’t think people even realize how much he does,” O’Malley said. “The last game we played, he didn’t score a lot for him, but he got 19 rebounds. How [do] you get a kid who plays the guard position and he gets 19 rebounds? But that’s the kind of kid he is. A kid who does more than you need him to do.”

Karp leads the Cougars with 26.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.8 steals a game. He’s part of an outstanding guard trio with Michael Simpson (17.6 points, 5.2 assists a game) and Karp’s co-captain, Jack Krieger, who has averaged 16.3 points in the four games he’s been back from an ACL injury.

Next up for St. Xavier is a game Saturday at No. 6 Robert Morris (7-3, 2-1), which is always a challenge.

“Anytime you play Robert Morris, you know you’re in for a quality game,” O’Malley said. “We even played them back and forth last year when we didn’t have to because we want to keep the series going. Playing Robert Morris twice a year is always fun.”

Cardinals in semis

North Central (13-0) has been more than up to every challenge this season, with a 41-17 victory at Bethel in St. Paul, Minn., its biggest challenge yet. The No. 4 Cardinals play Saturday at Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, in the NCAA Division III semifinals. The Purple Raiders (13-0) have been ranked No. 1 all season.

Against Bethel (12-1), Ryan Kent ran for 110 yards and four touchdowns, and Spencer Stanek completed 15 of 27 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

North Central, which will be making its first national semifinals appearance, has never played Mount Union, a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference. The last time the Cardinals played a team from the OAC, they beat Ohio Northern 28-9 in a second-round playoff game in 2010. Mount Union hasn’t played a CCIW team since topping Wheaton 45-24 in the Division III semifinals in 2008.

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