Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bleu Devils prevail 67-63 in OT against Gold Rush

NEW ORLEANS — Demetric Austin had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Jesse Ward scored six points in overtime Saturday to help NAIA No. 25 Dillard edge Xavier University of Louisiana 67-63 in Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men's basketball at Dillard's Dent Hall.
The Bleu Devils (18-10, 8-4) secured No. 2 seed for the conference tournament, which will begin Friday. The Gold Rush (19-11, 6-6) will be seeded fourth.
Ward's basket at 4:40 of overtime put Dillard ahead to stay, 56-54. Xavier had two chances to tie in the final 20 seconds but missed a shot on one possession and committed a turnover on the other. Austin and teammate Dennis Hightower made 1-of-2 free throws apiece to close the scoring.
Austin also had four assists, a block and three steals, and the double-double was his GCAC-leading 10th of the season and second against Xavier. Ward finished with 12 points, and Dennis Reed had eight points and eight rebounds.
Morris Wright had 18 points, five assists and two steals for Xavier. Gary Smith scored 13 points, and RJ Daniels had seven points, seven rebounds and three assists. Chris Ward and Elex Carter grabbed seven rebounds apiece.
In the second half, Dillard rallied from a 44-35 deficit to take a 54-52 lead on a Montrey Thomas basket — his only points of the game — with 16 seconds remaining. Smith tied the score and forced overtime with a basket with 7.7 seconds remaining.
Xavier outshot Dillard 49 to 33.3 percent from the floor, but the Bleu Devils made 21-of-30 free throws to Xavier's 10-of-17. Dillard outrebounded Xavier 46-29 and had advantages of 23-4 in offensive rebounds and 16-0 in second-chance points. The Gold Rush limited Dillard to its fourth-lowest point total of the season and nearly 20 points below the Bleu Devils' season scoring average of 85.2.
Jesse Ward's basket at 9:24 of the first half gave Dillard a 20-13 lead, but a Kevin Murph 3-pointer in the 17th minute started a 10-2 run that gave the Gold Rush a 33-27 lead at halftime.
Dillard defeated its longtime city and GCAC rival for the first time since 2013 and the first time on its home floor since 2001. Xavier had won six straight overall and 11 straight at Dent Hall against the Bleu Devils. Xavier leads the series 84-50.
Xavier will return to Dillard to play fifth-seeded Tougaloo Friday in the opening round of the GCAC Tournament. The GCAC will announce starting times Sunday.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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