Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gold Rush shoot 50 percent but drop exhibition at SLU

HAMMOND, Louisiana — Xavier University of Louisiana played one its best stretches of basketball this season before falling 89-72 at Southeastern Louisiana Monday.

The Gold Rush (2-4), ranked 25th in the NAIA, counted the game as an exhibition. It was a regular-season contest for the Lions (3-1) of NCAA Division I.

XULA shot 50 percent from the floor, and four players -- Innocent Kukulu, Seth Jackson, Leland Alexander and Donovan Armstrong -- combined to made 19-of-26 shots.

XULA trailed 17-6 in the sixth minute before getting 3-pointers from Kukulu, Lucas Martin-Julien and Jalen David during a span of 95 seconds. Those treys fueled a 21-9 rally, and XULA grabbed its first lead, 27-26, on Kukulu's basket at 4:28. An Armstrong basket at 3:55 gave XULA its final lead, 29-28.

The Lions took the lead for good, 31-29, on a pair of Moses Greenwood free throws at 2:46 and led 41-33 at halftime.

In the second half the Gold Rush closed to 51-45 on Jackson's basket at 14:37 and 55-48 on Kukulu's 3-pointer at 13:13. But two Michael Corchiani free throws at 9:55 gave the Lions a double-digit lead thereafter. A Greenwood jumper in the final minute made it 89-67.

Kukulu led XULA with 18 points and made 3-of-4 3-pointers. Alexander (6-of-8 floor) had 13 points, seven rebounds and two steals, and Jackson scored 13. Mike Williams' 3-pointer on the final XULA possession moved him into double figures with 11 points. Armstrong had seven points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Greenwood led SLU with 23 points and 10 rebounds and was 9-of-13 from the floor. Davon Hayes and Chris Mejia scored 17 apiece -- Mejia made 5-of-6 3-pointers -- and Marlain Veal had 14 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

SLU shot 56 percent from the floor and made 11 3-pointers to XULA's seven. The Lions outrebounded the Gold Rush 37-24. SLU made 22-of-32 free throws to XULA's 11-of-20. The Gold Rush committed 31 fouls, and two fouled out.

XULA will visit NAIA No. 5 LSU-Alexandria at 7 p.m. Nov. 29. The next Gold Rush home game will start at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 against Paul Quinn at the Convocation Center.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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