Friday night lit: Jones, Nuggets blast Tigers 62-45

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NEW ORLEANS — Freshman guard Taylor Jones all 11 of her points in the first three minutes — including 3-of-3 3-pointers — to spark Xavier University of Louisiana in a 62-45 women’s basketball victory against Georgetown (Ky.) Friday at the Convocation Center.

It was the fourth straight victory and the second in three days for the Gold Nuggets (4-2), who will play host to NAIA No. 13 Our Lady of the Lake at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Jones, scoring in double figures for the third time in four games, produced all her points in XULA’s first five possessions. Teammates Essence Wells and Jayla Nichols scored 11 points apiece; Nichols reached double figures for the first time this season.

Justus Martin had 15 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals for the Tigers (2-7), who lost their fifth in a row, and Shelby Beam scored 12.

XULA led 15-2 through four minutes and 26-4 when Wells swished XULA’s sixth trey of the quarter at 2:58. Nichols made the other two treys in the period.

The Gold Nuggets led 34-18 at halftime. Georgetown closed its deficit to seven in the third quarter, but XULA ended the period on a 7-0 run. The Gold Nuggets maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the fourth quarter.

XULA was plus-9 in turnovers — gaining 21 and committing a season-low 12 — and a season-best plus-11 in rebounds (43-32). Reserve center DeDe Martinez had season highs of 10 rebounds and three blocks. XULA produced 15 steals, with Wells getting a career-high-tying four and Mikayla Bates getting three for the second straight game.

The teams’ field-goal accuracy was nearly identical. Georgetown shot 36.7 percent, and XULA shot 35.8. But XULA led 24-18 in made field goals and 8-4 in made 3-pointers. The Nuggets and Tigers combined for 17 fouls in a game that lasted one hour and 28 minutes — 17 minutes shorter than the Nuggets’ 51-48 Wednesday home victory against LSU-Alexandria.

XULA has trailed for just 35 seconds during its win streak, all in the last four minutes against LSUA. It was the third straight game that the Nuggets allowed fewer than 50 points.

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