MCHS alum Richard records double-double in Xavier rout
The lengthy men’s basketball series between Xavier University of Louisiana and SUNO is ending soon, so the Gold Rush gave the Knights something to remember Monday.
It wasn’t a rocking chair, but the Gold Rush had The Castle rocking.
Fueled by 11 consecutive points to open the game and 14-3 and 16-4 second-half runs, NAIA No. 15 XULA rolled to a wire-to-wire 73-44 victory against its longtime city, HBCU and Gulf Coast Athletic Conference rival. It was the largest winning margin by either team in this series since Xavier’s 109-67 victory at The Barn on Feb. 5, 1972.
Xavier leads the series, which began in the 1970-71 season, 78-30.
With the win, the Gold Rush kept pace with Talladega and Tougaloo in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. Tougaloo is 4-0 in conference after its 95-82 home win Monday against Dillard; Talladega, which was idle, and Xavier are 3-0.
Next for Xavier (15-4): a 5 p.m. Saturday home game against Talladega, which is ranked No. 20.
In Monday’s Xavier win, William Loyd had 13 points, nine rebounds and four steals; Virgil Davison scored 11 points; and Morgan City High alum Makye Richard had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds as well as four assists for Xavier. The win was Xavier’s (15-4) fifth straight victory and — for the first time since the 2010-11 season — 11 wins in 12 games.
Kevin Knapp scored 11 points for the Knights (3-12 overall, 0-4 in conference), who have lost four straight and six of seven, and 7-footer Raymone Lampkin had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds as well as three blocks.
Xavier led 31-24 at halftime, and the margin was still single digits — 43-35 — after Terrance Collins-Lundy’s basket with 14:31 remaining.
Then, five Xavier players scored during a 16-4 run, including Davison with six points, and the Gold Rush weren’t threatened thereafter.
Xavier won despite its second-lowest field-goal accuracy of the season, 40.8%. But the Gold Rush limited SUNO to 33.3% and were plus-16 in turnovers, committing 11 and forcing 27.
Xavier produced 16 steals, the fifth consecutive game it reached double figures in that category. And 19 Gold Rush offensive rebounds were a season high.
Richard’s rebounds were the most in a game by a Xavier player this season. The junior guard grabbed eight rebounds in the second half.
The teams will meet again Feb. 17 at Xavier. A third meeting could occur in March at the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. After that, no one knows for sure.
The Southern University Board of Supervisors approved Jan. 10 SUNO’s request to suspend athletics indefinitely at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.