Gold Rush hold off Fisk 68-61, reach GCAC semifinals
March 1, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Anthony Simmons scored a
season-high 19 points Thursday to help NAIA No. 18 Xavier University of
Louisiana defeat Fisk 68-61 in the quarterfinals of the Gulf Coast Athletic
Simmons and Denzell Erves, both All-GCAC players,
scored 11 points apiece in the second half to move the second-seeded Gold
Rush (23-7) into an 8 p.m. Friday semifinal against third-seeded SUNO, a 75-63
winner against Edward Waters.
"We've depended a lot on our inside game, mainly
Anthony and Denzell, down the stretch this season," XU coach Dannton Jackson
said. "They came through for us again. When they continue to be active around
the basket, make shots and play defense, they'll cause problems for other
Erves scored all 11 of his points and grabbed all
eight of his rebounds in the second half. Jamaan Kenner, Cordell Hadnot and
Wanto Joseph scored eight points apiece for Xavier, which has won five
straight, 9-of-10 and 16-of-19.
Cameron Lewis scored 21 points — 15 in the first
half — Jewaun Wynn 16 and Bradley Grayson 12 for seventh-seeded Fisk
(6-23), which lost by 24 points at home to the Rush 10 days ago. But the
Bulldogs had some bite this time, making five 3-pointers in each half and
blocking seven XU shots.
"My hat's off to Fisk," Jackson said. "They played
hard, they played us tough. They did a good job."
Xavier led for the final 26:50 but needed an 16-1 run
to erase Fisk's largest lead, 19-12. Hadnot's basket put the Rush ahead to
stay at 20-19, and Xavier led 30-25 at halftime.
Kenner's two free throws with 9:41 remaining gave
Xavier its largest lead, 51-39. Fisk closed to 53-49 on Wynn's 3-pointer at
5:11 but didn't get closer.
Xavier outshot the Bulldogs 44.6 to 32.1 percent from
the the floor and outrebounded them 45-34. It was the fourth game in a row and
the 14th time this season that the Rush had a double-digit rebound advantage.
It was the fifth straight game an XU opponent shot 33.3 percent or worse from
"That's been the way we've won lately," Jackson said.
"Do a good job on the boards, keep teams to the low 30s from the field and the
low 60s on the scoreboard.
"It wasn't a pretty game for us, but we survived and
advanced, which everybody's trying to do this time of the year."
NOTES: Xavier is 50-13 since the start of the
2010-11 season. It's the first time since 1980-82 that the Gold Rush won that
many times over two consecutive seasons . . . Xavier defeated SUNO 75-66 in
the 2011 GCAC semifinals . . . Defending champion and top-seeded Tougaloo
will play fourth-seeded Philander Smith in the other semifinal.