Rush win GCAC opener, move win streak to 6

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Led by freshman Rayshawn Mart and senior transfer Joseph Williams, Xavier University of Louisiana opened its Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball schedule Monday with a 64-57 victory against Edward Waters.

The XULA men (12-4) have won six straight. This one occurred against the team that eliminated them in the first round of last season’s GCAC Tournament.

Mart had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Williams — in his first season with the Gold Rush after three at Freed-Hardeman — produced his first collegiate double-double: 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jalen David scored 11 points, and his basket at 16:43 of the first half put XULA ahead to stay.

XULA led 36-23 at halftime. The Tigers (5-8) got as close as 45-41 in the 30th minute, but the Gold Rush iced the game by making 8-of-11 free throws in the final 3 1/2 minutes. Jeff Dixon made 4-of-4 in the last 16 seconds.

Khalil McCoy — a redshirt freshman in his first collegiate start — and Dixon scored eight points apiece. Dixon had six rebounds and seven assists.

Will Ibeh scored 17 points, Prince Braynen 11 and Rasaad Morgan 10 for Edward Waters. Charles-Eddie Smith, who torched he Gold Rush for a career-high 30 points in last season’s GCAC Tournament, scored a season-low six and was 2-of-10 from the floor.

XULA shot 41.4 percent from the floor and committed a season-low eight turnovers, one in the first half. The Gold Rush outrebounded the Tigers 42-32.

The win streak is XULA’s longest since winning eight in a row Jan. 10-Feb. 5, 2015.

XULA will be back on the road for GCAC games at Tougaloo at 5 p.m. Saturday and Talladega at 7:30 p.m. next Monday.

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