No. 2 Generals hold on to defeat No. 23 Rush 80-77

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NEW ORLEANS — LSU-Alexandria produced three defensive stops in the final 31 seconds to hold on for an 80-77 victory Monday against Xavier University of Louisiana in a matchup of ranked NAIA men’s basketball teams.

The Generals (6-1), ranked second, completed a two-game regular-season sweep of the 23rd-ranked Gold Rush (4-5).

LSUA led the final 39:15 but needed a steal from JaMichael Brown with 31 seconds remaining and a block from Phillip Rankin with 11 seconds remaining to preserve a one-point advantage. Brown made two free throws with nine seconds remaining for the final points, then Johnell Lane missed a 3-pointer on the final XULA possession, and LSUA’s Donovan Thomas rebounded as time expired.

William Claiborne scored 16 points, Devin Jackson 15, Brown 13, Brandon Ellis 12 and Rankin 11 for the Generals, the NAIA national runner-up last season. Jackson made 5-of-5 3-pointers, Rankin grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots, and Brown had eight assists.

Lane scored 21 points to match his season high. Donovan Armstrong scored a season-high 12 points for the Gold Rush, and Ed Carter had 11 points to reach double figures for the seventh consecutive game.

An Ellis basket with 6:06 remaining gave LSUA its largest lead, 70-59, but Lane made three 3-pointers in an ensuing 18-8 run. Lane’s final trey cut the Generals’ advantage to 78-77 with a minute remaining.

LSUS outshot XULA 54.9 to 47.6 percent from the floor and had a 35-30 rebound advantage. The Gold Rush were a season-best plus-8 in turnovers, committing 10 and gaining 18.

XULA will play Jarvis Christian at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Convocation Center — the final Gold Rush game of the fall semester.

NOTES: It was XULA’s fifth consecutive loss and longest streak since dropping six straight in 2016-17 . . . It was the fourth straight Monday that the Gold Rush played a top-10 opponent . . . LSUA head coach Larry Cordaro attended XULA as a sophomore in 1999-2000, tried out for the basketball team, then stayed on as a manager for coach Dale Valdery after not making the roster. “I loved my time at Xavier,” said Cordaro, who graduated from LSU in 2002 . . . It was LSUA’s sixth consecutive game against a ranked team.

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