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Gold Rush rally late to take sole possession of GCAC lead
January 19, 2013

Box score

     NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Simmons scored a season-high 23 points, and Nick Haywood scored all five of his points during a closing run Saturday which gave Xavier University of Louisiana an 84-79 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men's basketball victory against Philander Smith.
     The Gold Rush (17-3 overall, 5-0 GCAC), ranked 13th in NAIA Division I, took sole possession of first place in the conference. They ended the nine-game win streak of the Panthers (13-5, 4-1), who are ranked 22nd.
     Simmons was 7-of-10 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the line before fouling out with 35 seconds remaining. But that came 13 seconds after Haywood made his only 3-pointer of the game to put Xavier ahead to stay, 80-78.
     Xavier outscored Philander Smith 9-1 after Juvon Demerson's two free throws a 78-75 lead with 1:46 remaining. Haywood's basket at 1:35 cut the Panthers' lead to 78-77, and he followed with the go-ahead trey after Denzell Erves rebounded Alvin Nance's missed shot at 1:04.
     Philander Smith, a second-year GCAC member, had a chance to tie the score when Simmons fouled out, but Demerson made one free throw and missed a second to keep Xavier ahead 80-79. The Gold Rush made 4-of-4 free throws thereafter — two by Wanto Joseph with 27 seconds remaining, two by Olivier Siewe with 10.4 to play — to preserve a season-high-tying sixth consecutive victory. Philander Smith missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final 11 seconds.
     Simmons produced back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in his career. Joseph had 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds — he has scored in double figures in every game this season — and Renard Smith made four 3-pointers and scored 17 points for Xavier. Erves missed his third consecutive double-double by two points but grabbed 11 rebounds to reach double figures for the sixth time in seven games.
     Haywood's late points came after he scored a combined four points in the previous two games. He was scoreless Monday in an overtime home victory against SUNO.
     Nance made 4-of-4 3-pointers, scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Philander Smith. Demerson had 22 points and four blocked shots, D'Alvin Brown scored 13 points, and Clayton Busby scored 11. Damarkus Lipscomb had 16 assists, 10 in the first half, to set a record in XU's first-year Concovation Center. His assists matched the most by an NAIA D-I player this season.
     The Panthers made five 3-pointers, two each by Nance and Busby, to take their largest lead, 22-10, at 12:24 of the first half. But Xavier rallied to take a 45-41 lead and built its advantage to 70-58 after Smith's 3-pointer with 8:12 remaining. Then the Panthers regained the lead by making 10-of-11 free throws in a 20-5 run during the next 6 minutes.
     Xavier shot 45.9 percent from the floor, including 9-of-18 3-pointers, and made 19-of-23 free throws. Philander Smith shot 43.4 percent from the floor, including 10-of-25 3-pointers, and made 23-of-31 free throws. Xavier had a 35-32 rebound advantage.
     The Gold Rush clinched a 13th consecutive winning season, which extends a school record, and are assured of a 22nd consecutive season at .500 or better. The last losing season was in 1989-90.
     The teams will meet again Feb. 9 in Little Rock, Ark. Next for Xavier will be a 1 p.m. Monday GCAC home game against Fisk, which lost 80-72 Saturday at Dillard.


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, tennis and track and field and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

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Xavier University of Louisiana
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Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
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