50-point second half helps Gold Rush beat No. 7 William Carey

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NEW ORLEANS — Rayshawn Mart scored a career-high 25 points and sparked a second-half rally Tuesday in Xavier University of Louisiana’s 80-66 men’s basketball victory against NAIA No. 7 William Carey.

Mart scored XULA’s first nine points during a 22-5 run that lasted approximately five minutes and turned a 43-37 deficit into a 59-48 advantage.

Mart also had six assists, three steals and no turnovers. The junior guard scored 21 second-half points.

William Loyd scored 17 points for the Gold Rush (4-1), Nigel Allen scored a season-best 14 points and made 4-of-4 3-pointers, and freshman Cameron Wells had nine points and a team-best eight rebounds.

Rodney Mallett had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Crusaders (1-2) but also committed six turnovers. Dalen Dotson scored 10 points. Cameron Douglas, who entered with averages of 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, had nine points on 3-of-9 field goals and four rebounds.

XULA outshot William Carey 53.7 to 40 percent from the floor — the third straight game the Gold Rush topped 50 percent — and earned its fourth consecutive victory, all by double digits. It was the second consecutive year that XULA won at home against a top-10 Carey team.

William Carey scored the first eight points and led 12-5 through 10 minutes. XULA rallied to grab the lead three times in the first half, but the Crusaders scored eight of the final 12 points of the period to lead 32-30 at halftime.

“We had much more energy in the second half,” XULA head coach Alfred Williams said. “TJ Jones (four second-half assists) and Nigel Allen gave us a much-needed shot in the butt in the second half. Our ballhandlers made plays. Cameron Wells was outstanding on defense in the second half. We started attacking William Carey’s defense better and got easier shots.”

The Gold Rush will play LeMoyne-Owen for homecoming at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Convocation Center. About 45 minutes after the conclusion of that game, XULA volleyball will take the court for its regular-season finale against city and Gulf Coast Athletic Conference rival Dillard.

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