Crusaders nip Gold Rush in another frenetic finish

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Leito Holloway’s basket with 1.4 seconds remaining lifted William Carey to a 50-49 victory against Xavier University of Louisiana in a matchup of ranked NAIA men’s basketball teams.

The 10th-ranked Crusaders (2-2) and 23rd-ranked Gold Rush (4-4) split their season series. Both games were decided late — XULA won 74-73 two weeks earlier on Rayshawn Mart’s dunk with 2.7 seconds remaining.

Holloway answered Monday after Mart’s basket with eight seconds remaining gave XULA a 49-48 advantage.

XULA led 17-6 through nine minutes, then trailed 43-30 after Brandon Cranford’s basket with 9:32 remaining. Mart tied the score at 45 with a 3-pointer at 2:04, then William Loyd made it 47-45 — XULA’s first lead in nearly 22 minutes — with a basket with 57 seconds remaining.

Holloway’s only 3-pointer of tha game made it 48-47 Carey with 36 seconds remaining.

Holloway scored a game-high 15 points. Teammate Branden Sheppard blocked five shots and had three steals.

Loyd and Ed Carter scored 11 points apiece for the Gold Rush, and Johnell Lane scored 10. Loyd grabbed seven rebounds, and Donovan Armstrong had a season-high-tying five assists.

XULA outrebounded William Carey 34-28 but committed 25 turnovers for the second consecutive game and shot a season-low four free throws, making two. XULA has lost four straight after starting the season 4-0.

The Gold Rush will break for Thanksgiving, then play NAIA No. 2 LSU-Alexandria at 7 p.m. next Mondey in XULA’s Convocation Center. It will be the fourth consecutive Moncay that the Gold Rush play a top-10 team.

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