Saturday, March 5, 2016

Martin-Julien leads Rush to 2OT win at GCAC tourney

NEW ORLEANS — Sophomore guard Lucas Martin-Julien, playing for the first time in 10 games, scored 11 of Xavier University of Louisiana's final 13 points Friday in a 94-92 double-overtime men's basketball victory against Tougaloo in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament at Dillard's Dent Hall.
The Gold Rush (20-11), seeded fourth, will play top-seeded and two-time defending champion Talladega (23-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals at Xavier's Convocation Center. Xavier will be the site of all men's and women's games this weekend.
Talladega, ranked fourth in NAIA Division I, had a first-round bye.
Martin-Julien scored a career-high 20 points, all after halftime, in his first game since an injury Jan. 18 at home against Tougaloo. His basket at the end of the first overtime — it hit the back of the rim and bounced up before landing in the basket — tied the score at 86. He scored Xavier's final seven points, including a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining.
"I just wanted to win," Martin-Julien said. "I wanted our team to get to the next round. We've worked so hard to get here."
Morris Wright scored 16 points for Xavier, Elex Carter had a career-high 14, and Chris Ward had 13. Wright tied the score at 78 with a 3-pointer at the top of the key — the final score of regulation — with 30 seconds remaining.
Quintarius Porter scored 26 points, Andravious Smith 25, De'Andre Scott 17 and Gardner Dixon 16 for Tougaloo (13-12), the No. 5 seed.
Tougaloo led by 17 points in each half and 47-34 at halftime. Xavier rallied by outshooting the Bulldogs 55.9 to 31.8 percent from the floor after halftime. For the game, Xavier outshot Tougaloo 49.2 to 39.7 percent.
Xavier, a 67-63 loser at Dillard this past Saturday in its regular-season finale, played back-to-back overtime games for the first time since 2000. It was the first time since 2004 that the Gold Rush won a multiple-overtime game, and it was the first time since 1993 that Xavier won in overtime in the postseason.
The Gold Rush reached 20 victories for the sixth consecutive season, which tied a school record, and the 31st time overall, which still is the Louisiana men's collegiate record. Wright became the fifth XU player to reach 1,500 career points — he has 1,510 — and the first since Merlin Peters, who scored a school-record 1,960 from 1989-93.
Talladega won both regular-season meetings against Xavier, including 62-58 in overtime Jan. 25 at Xavier.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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