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In the Mississippi Valley,
In the Crescent Bend
Stands our loved and noble Xavier,
Far her praises send.
Wave her colors bear them onward
Gold and white so true
Hail to thee, all hail, dear Xavier
Hail, all hail, X.U.!
Xavier, ever be our guide
And lead us on the way,
Through life's journey, onward, upward
To the eternal day. (Refrain)
Late-night blues: Faulkner beats Rush 72-59 at nationals
March 14, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Juniors Cyrille Sandjon and
Jake Mitchell scored 14 points each Thursday, and Faulkner rallied in the
final 15 minutes for a 72-59 men's basketball victory against Xavier University of Louisiana
in the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I National Championship.
It was the last of 16 first-round games over two
days. This one tipped off at approximately 11:04 p.m. — nearly 80
minutes after its scheduled 9:45 start — and concluded at approximately
12:53 a.m. Friday.
The Eagles (29-5), ranked 18th in the most recent
coaches poll but unseeded in this 32-team event, trailed 40-37 before
taking the lead for good with a 15-4 run which covered five minutes.
Maurice Whitely's basket — his only points of the second half —
put Faulkner ahead to stay 41-40, and Sandjon's fast-break basket at 9:51
capped the run and made it 52-44.
The Gold Rush (24-8), ranked 16th in the poll and
seeded 15th in the tournament, still was within striking distance at 55-51
in the final six minutes. But Anthony Simmons — Xavier's three-time
All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference forward — fouled out on an offensive
foul at 5:53, then Mitchell's 3-pointer at 5:38 and Jamarious Alderson's two
free throws at 5:01 gave Faulkner a 60-51 advantage. The Eagles never led
by less than seven points thereafter, even though they missed 5-of-12 free throws in
the final three minutes.
Alderson scored 11 points for Faulkner, which won
its sixth in a row and qualified for nationals for the first time since
reaching the 2007 semifinals.
Seniors Wanto Joseph and Denzell Erves led Xavier.
Joseph played the entire game and scored 16 points, and Denzell Erves had
14 points and 12 rebounds in the first Gold Rush double-double at nationals
since Bruce Seals in the 1973 quarterfinals. But after Erves secured his NAIA
Division I-leading 17th double-double of the season, he produced just two
points and two rebounds in the final 15 minutes.
Simmons, another senior, was called for his third and fourth
fouls in the first 3½ minutes of the second half and finished with seven points and two
rebounds in a little more than 17 minutes. Simmons was 22 points from
joining Joseph and Erves in Xavier's 1,000-point club for a career. Joseph and
Erves, both four-year players, reached that milestone in the regular-season
finale. Simmons played three seasons at XU.
Joseph's basket at 15:47 of the first half gave
Xavier its largest lead, 14-9. Di'mar Hill's fast-break basket at 11:56
gave the Eagles their first lead, 20-19, and there were three additional lead changes
and two more ties before Faulkner's Birama Konate made the second of two free throws
with one second remaining to tie the score at 30. Xavier's defense had
the momentum by halftime after allowing just six points in the final 10
minutes on 2-of-13 Faulkner shooting from the floor.
The Gold Rush led 34-30 after scoring the first four
points of the second half but never held a lead that large thereafter.
Faulkner outshot Xavier 47.8 to 38.6 percent from
the floor — 55 to 37.5 percent in the second half — and had
a 31-28 rebound advantage. Whitely led the Eagles with 10 rebounds. Eighteen
of Faulkner's 22 field goals were assisted, but no Eagle finished with
more than three assists.
Six Eagles combined to make eight 3-pointers
— Mitchell and Alderson each had two —
but Xavier made 2-of-13 from long range and was 0-of-9 in the final 33 minutes.
The teams combined for 55 personal fouls, with Xavier committing a season-worst 30.
The losing margin was Xavier's largest of the season
and its largest at nationals since a 91-69 loss to Oklahoma City in the
2001 first round.
NOTES: It also was the final XU game
for seniors Nick Haywood, Renard Smith and Keenan Gay.
Haywood made 4-of-4 free throws to finish 64-of-73 for the season. The .877
percentage is No. 2 on XU's all-time season list and just a sliver behind
record-holder Ronnie Walker, who made 93-of-106 in 1979-80. Carried out
to four decimal places, Walker shot .8774, and Haywood shot .8767 . . .
The Gold Rush lost for the third consecutive year in the first round.
The XU men have not won at nationals since the 2007 first round, which is their
only victory since 1973 . . .
The Eagles will play at 9:45 p.m. Friday in the second round against second-ranked
and second-seeded Lindsey Wilson, an 84-79 winner against Rocky Mountain
in the game immediately preceding XU-Faulkner . . . It was Faulkner's second victory of the day against Xavier. The Lady Eagles
defeated the Gold Nuggets 67-63 in the opening round of that NAIA tournament Thursday morning in
Frankfort, Ky. — approximately 530 miles from Kansas City.
|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.
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