Mart, Richard lead the way in Xavier’s 68-64 overtime victory against Dillard

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Xavier vs Dillard basketball 2021
(Photo: Yamlak Tsega/XULA Athletics)

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana men’s basketball, trailing by nine points with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, rallied Friday for a 68-64 overtime victory against Dillard at University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena.

XULA (5-1) extended its win streak to four and defeated its longtime city rival for the second time in seven days.

Fifth-year standouts Rayshawn Mart and Makye Richard were the primary catalysts. Mart scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the final 10 minutes of regulation, including a second-chance basket with 4.3 seconds remaining that tied the score at 57 and forced the extra period. Richard, who scored 21 points, made a 3 from the right corner at 2:51 of overtime to give the Gold Rush the lead for good at 62-59, then swished a 16-footer at 1:15 to make it 64-59.

Richard’s go-ahead 3 was his fifth of the game but his first since the first half. Four times as a collegian he’s made five 3s in a game, but it was the first time he did it for XULA.

“Makye has worked real hard on his game during the unseen hours,” Mart said, “and it’s started to show.”
Dillard (3-4) made it a one-possession game in the final 15 seconds, but Richard iced it with 1-of-2 free throws with 10.7 seconds remaining.

“It was great,” sixth-year XULA head coach Alfred Williams said, “to see those two All-Americans step up and lead us.”

Richard led all scorers with 13 points as XULA took a 27-24 halftime lead — Mart had only two points at the break but also had four assists — then Dillard, sparked by six second-half 3s, rallied and took its largest lead, 51-42, on a Jay Malone basket at 6:32 of the second half.

But Mart wasn’t worried. “We stayed poised,” he said. “We knew we had one more run in us.”

Mart and Richard were XULA’s only double-figure scorers. They shared team rebounding honors with Cameron Wells at six. Corey Dunning blocked four shots.

Taiveyhon Mason scored 20 points, Malone 16 and Elijah Moore 14 for Dillard (3-4), which has lost four straight. Tyrus Crawford grabbed 16 rebounds and Jememiah August 11 to help the Bleu Devils become the first team this season to outrebound XULA.

Coupled with XULA’s 64-63 women’s victory against Dillard earlier Friday, it’s the first time since the 2013-14 season that the Rush and Nuggets combined for a 4-0 regular-season record against Dillard. Dillard’s men and women never have been a combined 4-0 in one season against XULA since the women’s series started in 1977-78.

The Gold Rush will travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., for a 7:30 p.m. Monday game at another longtime rival, William Carey. The Crusaders are 2-0, including a seven-point vicory at Dillard.

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