Saturday, January 16, 2016

Career high 28 for XU's Wright, but Tornadoes win 70-55

TALLADEGA, Alabama — Qua Doster scored 18 points and made four 3-pointers Saturday to lead NAIA No. 8 Talladega in a wire-to-wire 70-55 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men's basketball victory against 14th-ranked Xavier University of Louisiana.

XU senior guard Morris Wright, named Friday to the 100-member watch list for the inaugural Bevo Francis Award, scored a career-high 28 points. He reached double figures for the 28th consecutive game and became the 15th Gold Rush player to reach 1,300 career points.

The Tornadoes (14-3, 2-0) made 3-pointers on each of their first three possessions, the last by Doster, to take a 9-2 lead. Talladega led 40-30 at halftime, and the final margin was its largest of the game.

But the Gold Rush (14-6, 1-2) threatened in the second half, getting six points from Wright and five from Elex Carter in a 11-0 run that cut Talladega's lead to 46-45 with 13:27 remaining. Then the Tornadoes answered with 11 straight points, and Generra Varmall's 3-pointer at 9:26 capped the surge and made it 57-45. Xavier did not get closer than seven points thereafter.

Wright, who made a season-high five 3-pointers for the sixth time this season, was Xavier's only double-figure scorer. Carter scored seven and grabbed eight rebounds. All of Carter's rebounds came in the second half.

Jordan Washington had 15 points and five assists for Talladega, which has an eight-game win streak, and Courtney Mack had nine points, eight rebounds and three steals.

Xavier outshot the Tornadoes 45.5 to 41.4 percent from the floor and outrebounded them 35-31. Talladega had a 10-6 advantage in made 3-pointers and was plus-10 in turnovers, committing a season-low five and gaining 15. The Tornadoes committed one turnover in the second half.

Xavier will play its fourth game in eight days when it meets GCAC opponent Tougaloo at 7:30 p.m. Monday at XU's Convocation Center. The Bulldogs were 25th in the NAIA coaches of poll Jan. 5 before dropping out this week.

NOTES: Xavier will get a rematch at home with Talladega Jan. 25, one week from Monday . . . Wright has 1,315 career points in 85 games (15.5 points per game). Next on the Gold Rush career list are Derrick Collins (1983-87) in 14th place with 1,319 points and Rodolfo Gill (1981-85) in 13th place with 1,339 points . . . Wright's previous point high was 27 against Mid-America Christian in the opening round of the 2015 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Divison I National Championship at Kansas City, Mo.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information

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