Sunday, December 16, 2012

Free throws help Gold Rush escape with 56-55 victory

MOBILE, Ala. — Xavier Rogers made two free throws with four seconds remaining Saturday to give NAIA No. 16 Xavier University of Louisiana a 56-55 men's basketball victory against Voorhees on the second and final day of the Spring Hill Classic.

The Gold Rush (11-2) scored the final four points in the final seven seconds, all from the line, after leading 25-14 at halftime and by 18 early in the second half.

Wanto Joseph scored 18 points, Anthony Simmons had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Denzell Erves and Nick Haywood scored 10 each for Xavier. Brandon Allen scored 12 points and Dominick Steverson 11 for the Tigers (9-7).

Andre Datcher's basket with 2:42 remaining gave Voorhees its first lead of the second half, 54-52, and Steverson made 1-of-2 free throws with 17 seconds remaining for the Tigers' final points. But in the final 11 seconds, Voorhees missed a pair free throws and was whistled for two free-throw violations.

Joseph made amends for his turnover with 11 seconds remaining by making two free throws with seven seconds to play to cut Voorhees' advantage to 55-54. Then Voorhees' Jeffrey Evans missed a free throw with six seconds remaining and was called for a violation on his second attempt.

Evans then fouled Rogers, who converted both attempts to clinch the victory and improve Xavier's road record this season to 5-0. Xavier was the only team to win twice in this event.

It was Xavier's first one-point victory since a 43-42 road decision against SUNO on Feb. 7, 2008.

Joseph's basket with 15:27 remaining gave the Gold Rush a 32-14 lead. But Voorhees — 5-of-26 from the floor during the first 24 minutes — looked like a different team during the next 12½ minutes, making 18-of-21 from the floor and outscoring Xavier 40-20. Steverson scored 10 points and Datcher nine during the rally.

For the game, Voorhees outshot Xavier 48.9 to 30.6 percent from the floor, but the Gold Rush made 24-of-31 free throws and outrebounded the Tigers 40-27.

The double-double was Simmons' sixth of the season, all in the last eight games, and the 12th of his career. He had 10 points and 10 rebounds Friday in a 64-57 victory against Martin Methodist.

Simmons made 11-of-14 free throws against Voorhees to establish career highs in both categories.

Martin Methodist defeated Spring Hill 71-62 in Saturday's final game.

The Gold Rush have one more game before Christmas — 6 p.m. Tuesday at NAIA No. 10 William Carey (10-1) in Hattiesburg, Miss. It will be the third of six consecutive XU road games; the next home game will start at 5 p.m. on Jan. 12 against Tougaloo at XU's new Convocation Center.

Box score
By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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