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Gold Rush hold off Fisk 68-61, reach GCAC semifinals
March 1, 2012

Box score

     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 Conference Tournament.
     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 teams."
     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 the floor.
     "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.


 

 
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.

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