Saturday, November 12, 2016

Rush drop road exhibition to NCAA DI Jackson State

JACKSON, Mississippi — Edric Denis scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half Friday to lead Jackson State to a 66-54 men's basketball victory against NAIA No. 25 Xavier University of Louisiana.
It was the regular-season opener of the Tigers, who compete in NCAA Division I. XULA (1-2) designated the game as an exhibition in its records and statistics.
Denis scored a basket and assisted on two others during a 14-0 first-half run that put the Tigers ahead to stay. The surge included back-to-back Yettra Specks 3-pointers during the 11th minute.
After surrendering the first seven points, XULA rallied to take its only lead, 9-8, on a pair of Seth Jackson free throws at 12:15.
Freshman guard Mike Williams led the Gold Rush with 18 points, including 3-of-5 3-pointers. Jackson scored 12 points and had five rebounds and two assists. Hakeem Simon led XULA with seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Jalen David, who entered the game with a Gold Rush-leading 18.3 scoring average, was 1-of-5 from the floor and scored five points in 26 minutes.
Denis also grabbed nine rebounds and led the Tigers with four assists and three steals. Chace Franklin scored 13 points, Specks had 10, and Janarius Middleton grabbed 10 rebounds.
XULA trailed 33-20 at halftime and got no closer than eight points in the second half. The final eight-point deficit was at 62-54 on a pair of David free throws with 2:41 remaining.
Jackson State outshot XULA 34.3 to 32.5 percent from the floor and had a 42-39 rebound advantage. The Tigers were plus-18 in turnovers, committing seven and gaining 25. XULA excelled at the line, making 23-of-27 free throws to Jackson State's 13-of-22. Gold Rush freshman Donovan Armstrong made all six of his free throws.
XULA shot 19 percent from the floor in the first half but improved to 47.4 percent in the second half. Williams and Leland Alexander combined to make 6-of-7 shots after halftime.
XULA will return to Mississippi Saturday to play NAIA No. 10 William Carey at 6 p.m. in Hattiesburg. The next Gold Rush home game will start at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against city rival Loyola.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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