Gold Rush defeat SUNO 75-66 to reach GCAC title game
March 4, 2011
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Chris Iles and Devin Andrew
scored 14 points apiece Friday, and Xavier University of Louisiana made 10-of-10
free throws in the final 76 seconds to secure a 75-66 men's basketball victory
over SUNO in the semifinals of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Gold Rush (27-4), ranked 17th in NAIA Division I
and seeded second in the tournament, will play 13th-ranked and top-seeded
Tougaloo for the championship at 2 p.m. EST Saturday. The winner will receive
an automatic bid to the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I National Championship.
Tougaloo defeated Edward Waters 69-67 in the first
Wanto Joseph added 13 points and Denzell Erves 10 for Xavier, which took the
lead for good, 15-12, at 9:55 of the first half on Jamaan Kenner's 3-pointer, his
only shot of the game. Xavier led 30-26 halftime, and four Gold Rush players scored
during a 10-1 run which gave XU a 62-51 lead with 2:36 remaining.
Iles made 3-of-3 3-pointers. Cordell Hadnot, Erves and
Andrew grabbed five rebounds apiece to lead Xavier.
Brent Leduff scored 38 points, 23 in the second half,
for SUNO (11-14), and Christopher Palmer had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Leduff made six 3-pointers and 16-of-18 free throws.
Xavier outshot SUNO 56.8 to 36.7 percent from the floor. In the second half
the Gold Rush shot 61.9 percent and made 18-of-22 free throws.
SUNO made its first four shots from the floor, three
by Leduff, then missed 11 in a row and went 3-of-20 in the final 17 minutes
of the first half.
"This was a survival game," XU Coach Dannton Jackson said. "I thought we
responded well against a feisty SUNO team. I was proud of the way our guys
Xavier and Tougaloo split their two-game regular-season
series, with the home team winning by double-digits both times. This will be
Xavier's 10th appearance in a GCAC Tournament final and first since 2008.
The Gold Rush haven't won the championship since 1996. Tougaloo will make
its second appearance in a GCAC final and first since 1989, when it lost
to William Carey.