Knights win 77-72 at Xavier, get season split

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NEW ORLEANS — Dominique Suggs scored a career-high 27 points, including seven 3-pointers, to lead SUNO to a 77-72 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball victory Monday against Xavier University of Louisiana.

The Knights (7-14, 2-8) snapped a six-game losing streak.

Suggs made his first six attempts from behind the arc. He scored 16 second-half points.

Andre Funches scored 12 points for SUNO, Ezekiel Brown had 11 points and 10 assists, and Joe Brown had 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Gary Smith made five 3-pointers and scored a career-best 24 points for the Gold Rush (17-10, 4-5). Morris Wright scored 18. Smith, Wright, Jarvis Thibodeaux (five points, three assists, two steals) and RJ Daniels (did not play) were honored in a pregame senior-night ceremony.

Both teams held double-digit leads. SUNO led 32-19 at 7:06 of the first half after Junaid Olusesi’s 3-pointer, and Xavier led 52-40 after Chris Ward’s basket with 14:45 remaining. Xavier led 46-40 at halftime after shooting 71.4 percent from the floor, then shot 21.1 percent in the second half.

For the game, SUNO outshot Xavier 51.1 to 47.5 percent from the floor. The Knights made 15-of-27 3-pointers — 6-of-7 in the first 10 minutes — and the Gold Rush sank 9-of-16.

Wright, 3-of-3 on first-half 3-pointers, moved into ninth place on Xavier’s career point list with 1,442.

SUNO coach Dale Valdery beat Xavier, his alma mater, for the fifth time in 20 tries. Valdery won a then-XU-record 238 games as coach of the Gold Rush from 1990-2002. This is his eighth season at SUNO. Xavier leads the series 71-30, including a victory at SUNO two weeks ago.

It was the third home loss in four games for Xavier, which will close the regular season with three straight on the road. Next will be a 5 p.m. EST Saturday GCAC game against Edward Waters in Jacksonville, Fla.

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Ed Cassiere

Ed Cassiere

Sports Information Director, Xavier University of Louisiana

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