Gold Rush defeat SUNO, tie 1st-place Tougaloo in GCAC loss column

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana routed SUNO 81-50 Monday at the Convocation Center and climbed closer to leader Tougaloo in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball standings.

Helping XULA’s cause was Dillard, which won 90-87 at home in overtime against Tougaloo after trailing by nine in the final minute of regulation. The Bleu Devils snapped Tougaloo’s 16-game GCAC win streak.

Tougaloo still leads the GCAC with a 10-1 record, a half-game ahead of the Gold Rush (9-1).

XULA — 21-5 overall and ranked 13th in NAIA Division I — got 16 points and nine rebounds from William Loyd and 14 points and 12 rebounds from Makye Richard to stretch its home winning streak to 10 games. It was a wire-to-wire victory, with XULA pulling away after SUNO (5-18, 2-10) cut the Gold Rush lead to 27-23 seven minutes befor halftime.

“I thought there may have been some hangover after beating Dillard Saturday,” XULA head coach Alfred Williams said. “But I’m happy we won. In the second half we played much better — we played the way we’re supposed to play.”

XULA led 43-30 at the break, then opened the second half with 14 consecutive points. The largest lead was 34 when a Jerry Gibson 3-pointer made it 79-45 with 2:26 remaining.

The Gold Rush outshot the Knights (5-18, 2-10) 42.6 to 34.5 percent from the floor, won the boards by five and the turnovers by 12. Johnell Lane scored 10 points, and Rayshawn Mart and TJ Jones scored nine apiece. Richard had six assists and four steals, and Loyd had three assists, five steals and zero turnovers.

XULA has four regular-season games remaining, all in the GCAC. The Gold Rush will visit Talladega — the GCAC’s third-place team — at 3 p.m. Saturday, visit Edward Waters Monday, then play Dillard at Lakefront Arena Feb. 29. The fourth game will be a March 2 home rematch with Tougaloo, a 64-63 winner Feb. 8 against XULA.

Tougaloo will visit Edward Waters Saturday and Talladega Monday before visiting XULA.

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