Xavier Athletics

XULA WWW

 


Xavier takes on Tougaloo in basketball finales at The Barn
February 12, 2012

     NEW ORLEANS — Monday at The Barn should be filled with people and emotion.
     Not only will Xavier University of Louisiana play its final basketball games in its 75-year-old gymnasium, but it also will be senior night with five honorees from the Gold Nuggets and four from the Gold Rush.
     But on a night of goodbyes and looking toward the future, will the Nuggets and Rush say goodbye to their chances of winning Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season championships?
     There's urgency for the XU women, who will play Tougaloo at 5:30 p.m. The Nuggets are 8-2 in the GCAC and tied for first place with Talladega with three conference games remaining for each after Monday. Tougaloo is third at 8-3 and already has a victory against the Nuggets. The Lady Bulldogs will try for their first regular-season sweep of Xavier since the 1977-78 season.
     The urgency is greater in the men's game, when the Rush meet Tougaloo at 7:30 p.m., Xavier must win to prevent the Bulldogs from clinching their third GCAC regular-season title in six seasons. The Rush are 7-3 in the conference and in second place but trail Tougaloo (10-1) by 2˝ games.
     A packed house of 1,300 is expected. Longtime XU president Dr. Norman Francis will briefly address the crowd, as will others. Souvenir T-shirts will be given to the first 100 XU students through the door; more shirts will be sold for $10 each.
     Senior Nuggets Jasmine Grant, Keldra Hall, Jazmoné Kelly, Danielle Kennebrew and Brandi Young will be honored at halftime of their game. The men's senior night will precede tip-off of the second game, with Cordell Hadnot, Chris Iles, Jeremy Lee and medical-school-bound Jamaan Kenner receiving their curtain calls.
     Then the curtain finally will fall on The Barn, which was dedicated on Nov. 2, 1937, by Archbishop Joseph Rummel of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and played host to its first basketball game on Dec. 29 of that year — a 32-19 Xavier men's victory against Alabama State. Regarded for decades as a difficult environment for visiting teams, The Barn will be razed after the completion of the 4,500-seat Convocation Academic Center later this year. The Barn is expected to play host to most, if not all, XU home women's volleyball matches this fall, but the CAC is expected to be ready in November for the start of the 2012-13 basketball season.
     Not surprisingly, both the Rush and the Nuggets are leaving The Barn on a high note. The XU men won 32 of their past 35 home games, and the women won 121 of their past 129, including a current streak of 21 straight in conference. No GCAC opponent has swept a doubleheader at Xavier since SUNO on Feb. 7, 2002. Since that double defeat, Xavier has swept 31 GCAC doubleheaders on the road.
     The Barn acquired its name in the 1960s because of a then-wood exterior and cavernous interior. But the facility no longer resembles a barn. The interior was enlarged and air-conditioned, and 1987 renovations — inspired by Pope John Paul II's visit to New Orleans and his celebration of Mass in the nearby XU quadrangle — replaced the wooden exterior with brick.
     The Barn underwent additional renovations during 2005-06 because of the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Xavier suspended its athletics program for that entire year after the university endured considerable storm damages, which included two feet of flood water in the gym. But by July '06 the facility had been renovated — including Jackson State University's generous loan of a wooden basketball court — and The Barn was ready for the return of the athletics department's staff, coaches and teams.
     Since that hurricane, the Rush and Nuggets have combined to win 87 percent of their games at The Barn in six seasons (78-17 men, 85-8 women). The volleyball Nuggets, in their fourth season, finally stepped up in 2011, winning eight of nine home matches and their first GCAC regular-season and tournament championships.
     "That's the interesting question," said Bo Browder, in his 13th season as head coach of the Nuggets and the proud owner of a 169-16 record at The Barn. "What will it be like for Xavier in the new arena? It'll definitely be nice, a major upgrade — something we've needed for a long time. The Barn has been a great home-court advantage for our teams, but I've always thought the players have had the greatest influence on our success. I think it'll stay that way in the new arena."
     The Convocation Academic Center will be across Washington Avenue and near the main campus on a site bounded by Short, Palm and Stroelitz streets — one block from South Carrollton Avenue.

 

 
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's teams in basketball, cross country and tennis and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis and volleyball.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Xavier University of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
(504) 520-7329 phone
(504) 520-7934 fax

 
Xavier University
Xavier Athletics

About Xavier
Contact UsSite Map
© Xavier University of Louisiana. All rights reserved