Panthers defeat Gold Rush in HBCU Tip Off title game

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Robert Osborne’s game highs of 18 points and nine rebounds Wednesday led Virginia Union to a 72-59 men’s basketball victory against Xavier University of Louisiana in the championship game of the Boost Mobile Chris Paul HBCU Tip Off at Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Panthers (4-0) of NCAA Division II won the tournament for the second consecutive season.

Jeremy Lindsey scored a season-high 16 points for the Gold Rush (4-1), and teammate Lance Williams scored 14. XULA, which climbed to 25th in the NAIA coaches poll earlier in the day, will visit city rival Dillard at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Virginia Union led 38-27 at halftime — Osborne had 14 first-half points on 7-of-8 from the floor — and by double digits for the final 17:53. Raemaad Wright’s two free throws with 4:06 remaining gave the Panthers their largest lead, 66-47.

XULA forward Xavier Reaves scored eight points to surpass 1,000 for his career. A fifth-year transfer from NCAA Division III Marymount (Md.), Reaves reached 1,000 with a basket in the final minute of the first half.

Virginia Union shot 59 percent from the floor in the first half and for the game outshot the Gold Rush 50 to 45.1 percent. The Panthers had a 31-25 rebound advantage and made 16-of-18 free throws to XULA’s 7-of-10.

It was the teams’ first meeting. Both teams were 23-7 last season.

Clark Atlanta defeated Johnson C. Smith 62-54 in the third-place game.

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