No. 15 Xaviers earns RRAC win over Our Lady of the Lake

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana slowed down high-scoring Our Lady of the Lake and rolled to a 72-59 Red River Athletic Conference men’s basketball victory Saturday.

The Gold Rush (9-2, 1-1), ranked 15th in the NAIA, outscored the Saints 60-42 during the final 33 minutes after the Saints opened on a pace to reach 97 points.

“We took it personally,” XULA head coach Alfred Williams said. “We started guarding better, got stops at the right time and started getting aggressive and controlling the tempo.”

Nigel Allen’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave XULA a 35-34 halftime advantage — the Gold Rush’s first lead. Corey Dunning made 1-of-2 free throws with 14:37 remaining to put XULA ahead to stay at 43-42, and the Rush led by at least seven for the final 10 minutes.

All-American Rayshawn Mart scored a game-high 20 points for XULA and reached double figures for the 28th consecutive time. Freshman Lance Williams scored 13 points — including 3-of-3 3-pointers — and tacked on a career-best four steals. Point guard TJ Jones had 12 points, six assists and zero turnovers.

Dunning grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and led XULA to a 41-32 rebound advantage.

Joseph Anderson scored 15 points, and Ruben Monzon had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists for OLLU (5-8, 0-3), which entered the game averaging 81.4 points. The 59 points were the Saints’ fewest in a game this season.

XULA will conclude a four-game, six-day homestand in a 3 p.m. Sunday non-conference matchup with Arkansas Baptist, a 72-67 winner Saturday at XULA city rival Dillard.

“Before this week we had not played for a month,” Williams said, “so we needed this stretch of games to get back in a groove. We’re getting there. We’re getting better.”

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