Second-half surge helps XULA pull away for road victory
PARAGOULD, Ark. — Xavier University of Louisiana dominated the second half Saturday to earn an 80-56 men’s basketball victory against Crowley’s Ridge.
XULA led 32-28 at halftime, then pulled away by outscoring the Pioneers 28-6 in the first nine minutes of the second half. Makye Richard scored 10 points, Rayshawn Mart eight and Corey Dunning six during the run.
“We started slowly,” XULA head coach Alfred Williams said. “We looked tired. Maybe it was because it was our fourth game this week. Maybe it was because of the long bus trip. But the guys finally got things going in the second half. They found a rhythm and started playing harder. We built a big lead and were able to hold it.”
Williams added, “We played more aggressively in the second half. We started playing Xavier basketball and defending the way we should.”
Mart scored 23 points for the second consecutive game and reached 20 points for the ninth time this season. Dunning, with 17 points and a career-high-tying 10 rebounds, produced a double-double for the second time in four games. Richard scored 15 points and reached double figures for the 10th time in 12 games.
Mart and TJ Jones had five assists apiece. Mart had seven steals, the most in a game by a XULA man since Shaun Dumas produced the same number against MidAmerica Nazarene on Nov. 28, 2008.
XULA’s only deficit was at 13-12. A Mart 3-pointer closed the first-half scoring and gave XULA a 32-28 lead.
DJ Morgan’s basket with 4:42 remaining gave XULA its largest lead, 76-44.
XULA outshot Crowley’s Ridge 47.3 to 40.4 percent from the floor and was plus-12 in turnovers, committing 11 and gaining 23, 16 by steals.
Kyle Moore and Braeden Williams scored 12 points apiece for Crowley’s Ridge (9-16), an NAIA member like XULA and a member of the Association of Independent Institutions.
XULA’s next game will start at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Tougaloo in a game that will not count in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference standings. XULA completed its GCAC schedule Wednesday in second place with a 5-1 record.
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As a New Orleans-area native, Jude grew up a fan of all sports and teams in the area. It’s a passion for the games that brought him into the fields of sports broadcasting and journalism. Whether he’s informing, reporting or entertaining, Jude brings his own special flavor to the task at hand. This Jesuit High School and Loyola New Orleans…