Richard leads 15th-ranked Gold Rush past Fort Lauderdale

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NEW ORLEANS — Makye Richard’s first 20/10 performance as a collegian — 25 points and 12 rebounds — carried NAIA No. 15 Xavier University of Louisiana to a 61-50 men’s basketball victory Tuesday against Fort Lauderdale.

Richard, a fifth-year guard, made 4-of-5 3-pointers and 9-of-10 free throws to help XULA (8-1) win its seventh in a row. Richard’s rebound total was a season high. The double-double was the 10th of his career and his sixth for XULA.

Nigel Allen scored a season-high 11 points for the Gold Rush, including three first-half 3-pointers.

Jongkor Unguec, with 14 points, was the lone double-figure scorer for Fort Lauderdale (7-12), a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association. This is the Eagles’ second season of intercollegiate competition.

XULA, playing for the first time in 29 days, made 12-of-19 from the floor in the final 14 minutes of the first half and led 41-26 at the break. A Unguec basket with 12:41 remaining cut the XULA lead to 45-39, but Richard scored the next five points on a 3-pointer at 11:39 and two free throws at 10:58.

XULA outshot the Eagles 37.7 to 31.1 percent from the floor. No Gold Rush opponent this season has shot better than 38 percent.

XULA has won 30 of its last 37 games, 39 of its last 47 and 45 of its last 54. At home XULA won 27 of its last 30. All six Gold Rush home victories this season have been by double digits.

XULA will make its Red River Conference debut in a 7:30 p.m. Thursday home game against Huston-Tillotson. It’ll be a doubleheader; the XULA and HTU women will tip off at 5:30 p.m. No fans are allowed at XULA home games through Jan. 15 because of COVID-19.

NOTES: His name is pronounced muh-KYE REE-shard . . . Richard’s career stats include 1,260 points, 521 rebounds, 296 assists and 133 made 3-pointers in 95 games with 89 games started . . . This was the first of four Gold Rush games in six days — all at home . . . XULA’s win streak is its longest since another seven-game streak from Feb. 29-Nov. 2, 2020 . . . Fort Lauderdale head coach Anthony Anderson was Dillard’s head coach from 2006-08 and a University of New Orleans assistant during the late 1990s . . . This is the first of 12 January games for XULA — its most games in any month since 12 in January 1997 . . . The next NAIA coaches poll will be announced Jan. 12.

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