Tuesday, February 28, 2017

No. 2 Rush in NAIA's top 3 for 10th consecutive poll

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana remained No. 2 Tuesday in the newest NAIA men's tennis coaches poll and made its 10th consecutive appearance in the top three.

Since the previous poll Feb. 14, the Gold Rush (5-3) have victories against an NCAA Division I opponent (Nicholls State), the NAIA's No. 3 team (Keiser) and NCAA Division III's No. 2 team (Emory). Since XULA's 5-4 victory at Emory Feb. 18, the Eagles have won the ITA's D3 national indoor championship.

Next for the Gold Rush will be a 1:30 p.m. Friday dual against NAIA No. 6 William Carey in Hattiesburg, Miss., at the Southern Miss Tennis Complex. The Crusaders (5-1) climbed one place in the poll. This dual originally was scheduled for XULA, but the schools agreed Tuesday to swap venues. The April 15 XULA-William Carey dual will move from Carey to XULA Tennis Center.
For the 22nd consecutive poll, Georgia Gwinnett is unanimous at No. 1. The Grizzlies defeated XULA 5-0 Feb. 19 at GGC's Grizzly Invitational.

Other XULA poll streaks:
• 80th consecutive appearance in the top 25 . . . streak began April 4, 2007.
• 71st consecutive appearance in the top 20 . . . streak began April 30, 2008.
• 56th consecutive appearance in the top 15 . . . streak began Feb. 1, 2011.
• 50th consecutive appearance in the top 10 . . . streak began May 3, 2011.
• 12th consecutive appearance in the top 5 . . . streak began Jan. 26, 2016.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director


XULA Rush, Tigers to lead off GCAC tourney at noon Friday

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketball will lead off the 2017 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament with a noon game Friday against Edward Waters at Dillard's Dent Hall.

The GCAC announced seedings and pairings Tuesday for the seven-team event, which is being played in New Orleans for the fourth consecutive year.

The Gold Rush (10-19) are seeded fourth by virtue of their 6-6 conference record and fourth-place finish. Edward Waters (12-17, 5-7) tied for fifth place with Tougaloo. Edward Waters and Tougaloo split their two regular-season games, and the Tigers earned the fifth seed in a tiebreaker — their 1-1 record against third-seeded Talladega. Edward Waters and Tougaloo and had identical records against the GCAC's highest two seeds.

The XULA-Edward Waters winner will play top-seeded Dillard at 7 p.m. Saturday at XULA's Convocation Center. All semifinals and finals for the men and women will be played at XULA. Dillard, the regular-season champion, No. 1 seed and defending GCAC Tournament champion, has a first-round bye.

The other men's first-round matchups, also at Dillard Friday, will be Talladega vs. sixth-seeded Tougaloo at 2 p.m. and second-seeded Philander Smith vs. seventh-seeded SUNO at 5 p.m.

XULA and Edward Waters will meet in the GCAC Tournament for the first time. The Gold Rush are 13-2 all-time against the Tigers, including victories of 72-69 at XULA Jan. 21 and 65-61 at Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 4. The Gold Rush have not lost to the Tigers since Jan. 4, 1996, and have a current series win streak of 11.

XULA's leading scorers are 6-foot-4 junior guard/forward Jalen David (11.8 points per game), 6-1 senior guard Seth Jackson (9.8), 6-3 freshman guard Mike Williams (9.3) and 5-9 freshman guard Donovan Armstrong (8.1). Edward Waters' leading scorers are 6-4 senior guard Keith Williams (13.9), 6-6 senior forward Oshey Washington (12.0) and 6-3 junior guard/forward Charles-Eddie Smith (10.0).

XULA was the GCAC Tournament runner-up in 2016, 2015, 2011 and 2008. The Gold Rush have not won this event since 1996.

2017 GCAC Men's Basketball Tournament

First Round — Friday, March 3 (Dillard's Dent Hall)
#4 XULA (10-19) vs. #5 Edward Waters (12-17), noon
#3 Talladega (21-9) vs. #6 Tougaloo (10-15), 2 p.m.
#2 Philander Smith (13-12) vs. #7 SUNO (4-20), 5 p.m.

Semifinals — Saturday, March 4 (XULA's Convocation Center)
Talladega-Tougaloo winner vs. Philander Smith-SUNO winner, 2 p.m.
XULA-Edward Waters winner vs. #1 Dillard (22-7), 7 p.m.

Championship — Sunday, March 5 (XULA's Convocation Center)
Semifinal winners, 4:15 p.m.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director


FAMU rallies to beat Mercer in baseball

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Florida A&M (6-2) rallied from an early four-run deficit and handed Mercer (7-1) its first loss of the season, 10-7, at Moore-Kittles Field Tuesday afternoon.

Aubrey McCarty’s grand slam highlighted a six-run sixth inning for the Rattlers, who won their fourth consecutive game.

FAMU recorded 11 hits for its sixth double-digit hitting performance of the season.

Second baseman Kaycee Reese went 3-for-3 for the winners, who scored 10 runs over their final three at-bats.

First baseman Austin Michaud added three hits and three RBIs for FAMU.

FAMU third baseman Ben Ellzey extended his hitting and on-base streaks to 29 and 35 games, respectively, with a 2-for-4 performance.


Future NFL Draft prospect Devante Kincade, Grambling State will carry FCS torch

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- 2018 NFL Draft prospect Devante Kincade will try to emulate his 2016 success. If he continues his play, he”ll likely get a decent selection in the draft.

When players transfers from FBS to FCS competition, they typically become a lower priority to the NFL. However, many recent drafts have proven FCS quarterbacks can be drafted early. Obviously, Carson Wentz just went second overall in last year’s draft.

Joe Flacco, Steve McNair, Doug Williams and Phil Simms are a few of the other notable selections. The next quarterback in that prestigious line could be Grambling State’s Devante Kincade. The Dallas Skyline product still has his senior season to prove he’s worth such an investment, but his efforts in 2016 were admirable.

Kincade transferred from Ole Miss after the 2015 season. He saw snaps in each of his first two seasons, but he would’ve sat behind Chad Kelly in 2016. And he would have to battle five-star quarterback Shea Patterson in his final season just to start one year. He made the right decision to leave and it paid off well.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Gold Nuggets win at Tougaloo to close regular season

TOUGALOO, Mississippi — Freshman point guard Maya Trench scored 16 points Saturday, seven during a decisive third-quarter run, to lead Xavier University of Louisiana to a 62-50 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball victory against Tougaloo.

The Gold Nuggets (17-12, 6-6) snapped a two-game losing streak in their regular-season finale. They'll play Friday in the opening round of the GCAC Tournament at SUNO — time and opponent are still to be determined. Game times at The Castle will be noon, 2 and 5 p.m.

After Tougaloo's Shenequa Foster made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the score at 25 at 8:11 of the third quarter, XULA pulled away for good with a 16-3 run. Trench and Mikayla Bates made 3-pointers during the run, and Trench's deuce at 2:26 gave the Gold Nuggets a 41-28 advantage.

For the third time this season, XULA outscored its opponent in every quarter. The Gold Nuggets led 23-20 at halftime.

Bianca Brown and Trench were the only Gold Nuggets with more than six points. Brown had nine points, eight rebounds and a career-best three blocked shots.

Ahsia Clayton made 4-of-7 3-pointers and scored 17 points for Tougaloo (10-14, 5-6), which never led.

XULA outshot the Lady Bulldogs 37.9 to 33.3 percent from the floor and outrebounded them 35-23.

XULA beat Tougaloo for the 14th consecutive time and the 27th time in their last 28 meetings. Tougaloo will close its regular season at home Monday against Dillard.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director


Gold Rush fall at Tougaloo; GCAC tourney starts Friday

TOUGALOO, Mississippi — Andravious Smith had 23 points, 17 rebounds and three steals Saturday to lead Tougaloo in a 73-57 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men's basketball victory against Xavier University of Louisiana.

Denarius Odell also scored 23 for the Bulldogs (10-14, 5-6), who beat the Gold Rush (10-19, 6-6) for the first time in their last 13 meetings.

Smith, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, produced his fourth consecutive double-double against XULA and the fifth of his career. It was the third consecutive time he reached 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Gold Rush. His rebound total is the most by a XULA individual opponent since Tougaloo's Patrick Bass grabbed 18 on Jan. 15, 2004.

Seth Jackson scored 12 points for XULA. Donovan Armstrong and Jalen David scored 11 apiece, and Leland Alexander scored 10. Mike Williams grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals to match his career highs, and Alexander grabbed six rebounds.

Tougaloo never trailed and led 40-30 at halftime. The Bulldogs outshot the Gold Rush 46.9 to 35.1 percent from the floor.

Both teams will play Friday in the opening round of the GCAC Tournament at Dillard's Dent Hall. Pairings have not been determined. Tougaloo will close its conference schedule Monday at home against GCAC regular-season champion Dillard, which has a first-round tournament bye. Friday's games are scheduled for noon, 2 and 5 p.m.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director


Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 SIAC Basketball Tournament Brackets Released

ATLANTA, Georgia – Lane and Claflin secured the No. 1 seeds in the 2017 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament, announced on Friday, Feb. 24 by the league office.

Men's bracket | Women's bracket

Lane, the 2017 SIAC men’s basketball regular season champion dominated the west division and finished the regular season 17-9 overall and 14-3 in the conference to claim the west division title. Lane earned a first-round bye and will meet the winner between No. 4 Morehouse/No. 5 Tuskegee on Wednesday, March 1 at 7:45 p.m. The Maroon Tigers (16-9 overall, 10-7 SIAC) finished fourth in the east division and takes on Tuskegee (8-18, 6-10) who finished fifth in the west on Monday, Feb. 27 at 4:45 p.m.

The Panthers (17-9) finished first in a three-way tie to clinch the east division title. Claflin recorded a 12-5 SIAC record and will receive a first-round bye. The Panthers play on Wednesday, March 1 at 3:15 p.m. against the winner between fourth-seeded Kentucky State (10-16, 7-10) of the west division and fifth-seeded Fort Valley State (9-17, 6-10) of the east division. Kentucky State and Fort Valley State are set to open the 2017 SIAC Basketball Tournament on Monday, Feb. 27 at 12:15 p.m.

Clark Atlanta (18-11, 12-5) finished second in the east division to earn a first-round bye. The Panthers face the winner of No. 3 Miles/No. 6 Albany State on Thursday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. Miles (7-19, 7-9) and Albany State meet Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7:45 p.m.

LeMoyne-Owen (9-18, 8-9) finished second in the west division and will play Paine (2-23, 0-17) who finished seventh in the east divison on Monday, Feb. 27 at 9:15 p.m.

Benedict (15-11, 12-5) earned the No. 3 seed in the east division and will face No. 6 Central State (10-18, 6-11) from the west division on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 3:15 p.m.

On the women’s side, Benedict, the 2017 SIAC women’s basketball regular season champion claimed the top seed in the east division after finishing with a 15-1 mark in conference play. The Tigers (18-7 overall) won their third consecutive east division title and enter the tournament on a 12-game winning streak with their last loss on Dec. 18. Benedict earned a first-round bye and will face the winner between No. 4 Kentucky State/No. 5 Albany State on Wednesday, March 1 at 1 p.m. The Thorobrettes (11-14) finished fourth in the west division with a 7-9 record in the SIAC while the Golden Rams (6-19) posted a 5-10 mark in league games to finish fifth in the east division. Kentucky State and Albany State tip-off on Monday, Feb. 27 at 2:30 p.m.

Central State (18-7) finished first in the west division to clinch its first conference divisional title since becoming an exclusive member of NCAA Division II. The Marauders finished 12-4 in the SIAC and earned a first-round bye. Central State will take on the winner of the No. 4 Paine/No. 5 LeMoyne-Owen game on Wednesday, March 1 at 5:30 p.m. The Lions finished the regular season with an overall record of 11-15 and were seeded fourth in the east division with a 5-10 record. The Magicians (5-22, 5-10) were seeded fifth in the west and will meet Paine on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Claflin (14-11, 9-6) and Miles (14-12, 9-6) secured the No. 2 seeds out of the east and west divisions respectively. Claflin’s opponent will be determined on Thursday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. by the winner of the Lane and Clark Atlanta game set for Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. The Dragons (12-14, 9-6) finished third in west while the Panthers (9-16, 4-11) were sixth in the east division.

Miles is scheduled to face the winner of the No. 3 Fort Valley State/No. 6 Tuskegee game on Thursday, March 2 at 1 p.m. The Wildcats (8-16) finished third in the east division with a 7-8 rescord while Tuskegee (10-15) was sixth in the west division with a 5-10 record.