XULA edges Philander Smith to finish 3-0 in GCAC grouping

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Makye Richard made the go-ahead free throws with 39 seconds remaining, then blocked a shot on the final Philander Smith possession to give Xavier University of Louisiana a 57-55 men’s basketball victory Wednesday.

XULA (6-1, 3-0) returned home Wednesday evening with three victories in three days in Gulf Coast Athletic Conference group play. XULA will play host to the second half of the GCAC league schedule Feb. 1-4.

The Gold Rush shot 29.2 percent from the floor — its lowest mark during Alfred Williams’s five seasons as head coach — but made a season-high-tying 23 free throws and won the turnover battle for the sixth time in seven games, committing 18 and gaining 24.

Rayshawn Mart scored 12 points, a season low, and Richard had 11 for XULA. They were a combined 6-of-23 from the floor with 11 turnovers but 10-of-11 from the line. Freshman reserve Jeremy Lindsey scored a season-best nine points, including 4-of-4 free throws.

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