Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wolf Pack on target in upset of NAIA No. 13 Gold Rush

NEW ORLEANS -- Robert Lovaglio scored 27 points for the second consecutive game, and Loyola shot 61.1 percent from the floor Wednesday in a 77-67 men's basketball victory against NAIA No. 13 Xavier University of Louisiana at XU's Convocation Center.

The Wolf Pack (7-4) won for the second time in five days against a ranked opponent and gained a season split with the Gold Rush (9-2). Xavier won 73-67 at Loyola on Nov. 13.

Lovaglio was 8-of-14 from the floor, made 10-of-12 free throws and grabbed seven rebounds. He scored 15 second-half points and was Loyola's only double-figure scorer. Six teammates scored eight points apiece.

Wanto Joseph scored a career-high-tying 26 points for Xavier, and Xavier Rogers scored 11. Joseph, who scored 26 in the first Loyola game this season, also had five rebounds and five assists.

Loyola outscored Xavier 9-3 in the first 8½ minutes and led 32-29 at halftime. After Xavier took its final lead, 49-48, on a Rogers basket with 10:50 remaining, Jared Townsend's 3-pointer put the Wolf Pack ahead to stay 22 seconds later. Lovaglio scored six points during an 11-0 run which gave Loyola a 69-56 lead with 2:45 remaining.

It was the second time this season that Loyola shot 60 percent or better. It was the first time since January 2005 that a Xavier opponent was that accurate.

Both teams made the same amount of field goals and 3-pointers, but Loyola prevailed by making 27-of-38 free throws -- 19-of-23 in the second half. Xavier was 17-23 from the line and 7-of-12 in the second half.

Xavier, which shot 57.2 percent its previous three games, finished at 42.3. Loyola had a 30-23 rebound advantage.

Xavier's two best post players, Anthony Simmons and Denzell Erves, each committed a fourth foul in the first four minutes of the second half. Neither fouled out, but Simmons finished with six points and five rebounds -- he was trying for a fourth consecutive double-double -- and Erves had season-lows of four points and four rebounds. It was the first time this season that Erves did not score at least 10.

After taking fall semester final exams, the Rush will travel to Mobile, Ala., for a 5 p.m. game Dec. 14 against Martin Methodist in the Spring Hill Classic. The next Gold Rush home game will start at 5 p.m. Jan. 12 against Tougaloo.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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