Curry carries Dillard to home victory against Xavier

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana’s hope of a men’s basketball sweep against Dillard was dashed Saturday when the Blue Devils rallied in the second half for an 81-70 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference victory at Dent Hall.

Rick Curry produced game highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Bleu Devils (16-7, 9-2), who gained a tie for first place in the GCAC with idle Tougaloo. Dillard, ranked 25th in the NAIA, is 5-0 since losing 83-76 at XULA three weeks ago.

The XULA men (14-13, 5-6), meanwhile, are 2-4 since beating Dillard and have dropped four of their last five.

XULA led 37-36 at halftime, and William Loyd’s 3-point play with 17:17 remaining gave the Gold Rush a 44-38 advantage. But Dillard countered with a decisive 17-2 run, which included a Jamerson Roberts 3-pointer at 15:10 to put the Bleu Devils ahead to stay.

A Roberts basket with 6:04 remaining gave Dillard its largest lead, 67-53. Then XULA rallied and cut it to 69-65 after Loyd made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:47 remaining. But Dillard pulled away once more, outscoring XULA 12-5 thereafter to clinch its eighth victory in its last nine meetings with the Gold Rush.

Curry, a 6-foot-9 senior center, averaged 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds against XULA this season.

Xavian Mckay scored 13 points, Jessie Ward 12 and Jeffrey Drake Todd 10 for Dillard. Tyrell Alcorn produced nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers.

Rayshawn Mart led XULA with 19 points and eight rebounds. Loyd scored 17 points to reach double figures for the seventh consecutive game, and Damani Flanagain scored 12, nine in the first half.

XULA shot 31.4 percent from the floor, its lowest since its season opener. Dillard shot 51 percent overall and 54.5 percent in the second half.

XULA will close the regular season with GCAC home games against Rust on Monday, SUNO on Wednesday and Philander Smith Feb. 25. All three games will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

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