Gold Rush defeats city rival Loyola in overtime

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NEW ORLEANS — Nigel Allen’s two free throws with 1:22 remaining in overtime put Xavier University of Louisiana ahead to stay, and the Gold Rush held on for a 91-89 men’s basketball victory Tuesday against city rival Loyola.

XULA (10-3) extended its win streak to six — three of those in overtime — and gave NAIA No. 17 Loyola (10-1) its first loss of the season.

Loyola missed four field-goal attempts in the final minute of overtime, the last by Josh Leaney with two seconds remaining. Teammate Tim Cameron grabbed Leaney’s miss near the Wolf Pack basket but was unable to attempt a shot before the game ended.

Rayshawn Mart, named Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week earlier in the day, scored 20 points for the Gold Rush. William Loyd had 19 points and 12 rebounds — his fifth double-double of the season and third in a row — Johnell Lane scored 13 points, including a game-high four 3-pointers, and Cameron Wells had 10. Freshman TJ Jones had a game- and career-high seven assists.

Myles Burns had 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Wolf Pack, and Terry Smith scored 20. Cameron had 16 points and six assists, and Zach Wrightsil had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

XULA led 40-31 at halftime and 47-33 when Loyola transfer Cameron Dumas made 2-of-2 free throws with 17:41 remaining. But Loyola shot 55.3 percent from the floor in the second half to rally and sent the game into overtime on Smith’s basket with one second remaining in regulation.

XULA’s victory denied Loyola its first 11-0 start to a season. This team will share the distinction for best start to a season with the 1928-29 team.

The Gold Rush outshot Loyola 48.4 to 43.3 percent from the floor. The teams combined to miss 23 free throws — Loyola was 26-of-40, and XULA was 25-of-34.

XULA has beaten three ranked NAIA Division I opponents this month, all at home: Loyola, No. 7 William Carey and No. 22 Wiley. The first NAIA coaches poll of the regular season will be announced Wednesday.

XULA will break for Thanksgiving, then visit the University of New Orleans at 6 p.m. Saturday. The next Gold Rush home game will start at 5 p.m. Dec. 17 against Mobile.

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