Great Day for Tougaloo, overtime loss for Gold Rush
March 5, 2011
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Kadon Day scored nine of
his career-high 32 points in overtime Saturday to lead Tougaloo to a 93-80 men's
basketball victory against Xavier University of Louisiana in the championship
game of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Bulldogs (27-4), ranked 13th in NAIA Division I
and seeded first in the tournament, extended their win streak to 12 games and
earned an automatic berth tin the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I National
Championship at Kansas City, Mo. Xavier (27-5), ranked 17th and the No. 2
GCAC seed, will wait for an at-large berth. The NAIA's tournament field and
schedule will be announced Wednesday, and the tournament will begin March 16.
"I hope we get in," XU senior guard Michael Harvey said.
"We've worked too hard not to go. I know we're one of the best 32 teams in the country."
Harvey's 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining in
regulation tied the score at 72 and forced overtime. But Day, a 6-foot-6 freshman,
scored five points in Tougaloo's 7-0 run to begin overtime, and the Gold Rush never
"Kadon Day came up big. He did a great job, and my hat's
off to him," XU Coach Dannton Jackson said.
Xavier had six players score in double figures. Denzell
Erves had 16 points, Chris Iles and Wanto Joseph scored 12 apiece, and Cordell
Hadnot, Kevin Miller and Devin Andrew each had 10.
Iles and Andrew were named to the six-player all-tournament
team with Day, Brent Leduff of SUNO, Marquise Mems of Tougaloo and William Walter-Brown
of Edward Waters.
Xavier trailed 39-32 at halftime but rallied to lead
twice in the final four minutes, the last time at 67-66 after Hadnot's two
free throws at 2:37.
James Carter's two free throws with 20 seconds remaining
gave Tougaloo a 72-69 lead, then Harvey answered nine seconds later with his team-leading
45th 3-pointer of the season and the 139th of his career to tie Michael Varnado for
fourth place at Xavier.
"I got a great screen to get open and a a good, clean
look at the basket," Harvey said. "When I released the ball I knew it was going in."
Mems scored 18 points, James Carter 14 and Donteeno Todd
11 for Tougaloo, which is 19-1 since Dec. 4 — the only loss was 77-67 at Xavier
on Jan. 22 — and will appear at nationals for the third straight year and the
fourth time in five seasons. It's the Bulldogs' first GCAC Tournament
championship — they lost 85-83 to William Carey in 1989 in their only other
appearance in the final.
Tougaloo outshot Xavier 50 to 41.7 percent from the floor
and made 32-of-40 free throws. Xavier was 25-of-30 from the line and made its first
14 in a row but missed two free throws with 1:17 remaining in regulation while
trailing 70-67. The Gold Rush had a 37-31 rebound advantage but committed six
more turnovers than the Bulldogs.
Xavier lost for the second time in four years in the
championship game. The Gold Rush have not won the GCAC Tournament since 1996.
"I'm happy with our accomplishments this year," said Jackson,
who led a program-record four consecutive Gold Rush teams to the NAIA nationals
from 2004-08. "We've won 27 games, the first time that's happened in a long time.
I like our body of work. We have fought through several different kinds of adversity
to put together a successful year."