Late Gold Rush shots won’t fall in 64-63 defeat at Tougaloo

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TOUGALOO, Miss. — In a matchup of ranked NAIA men’s basketball teams, Xavier University of Louisiana and Tougaloo battled to the final possession before the Bulldogs escaped with a 64-63 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference victory Saturday.

Defending champion Tougaloo (20-4, 9-0) won in the GCAC regular season for the 14th consecutive time dating to last season. Both teams entered with nine-game overall win streaks.

The Bulldogs led the final 35:26, 36-32 at halftime and by as many 10 points. But the Gold Rush (19-5, 7-1) made it interesting, rallying from a nine-point deficit in the final 5 1/2 minutes. Rayshawn Mart’s 3-point attempt for XULA hit the back of the iron as time expired,

William Loyd scored a game-high 20 points for XULA — he was 7-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the line — Ed Carter scored 18, and Mart had 12. D’Michael Stribling scored 13 points for Tougaloo, and Sean Atwater and Justin Johnson scored 12 apiece.

XULA will play Dillard in the Crosstown Classic at 5 p.m. Saturday at XULA’s Convocation Center.

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