No. 21 Dillard visits Xavier in the GCAC Men’s Basketball Game of the Week

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NEW ORLEANS (GCAConf.com) – The GCAC enters the sixth weekend of conference play with a pair of pivotal conference matchups and one non-conference game on the schedule. Edward Waters looks to snap a three-game losing streak when they face Morris College, and sixth-ranked Talladega visits Philander Smith as they finish their season series. The GCAC Game of the Week features No. 21 Dillard and Xavier facing off in the Crosstown Classic.

Saturday, February 6

Morris (3-13, Independent) at Edward Waters (9-13, 2-5 GCAC) (Tip-off 5:00 PM CT): Edward Waters steps outside of the GCAC to take on Morris College at the Adams-Jenkins Center. The Tigers are in need of a win, coming into today’s game on a three-game losing streak. Morris College could be the perfect tonic for EWC as the Hornets have lost 12 of their last 13.

Players to watch: Khaliq Williams, Morris: Williams is the only Hornets player to average double figures in scoring, leading the team with 12.3 points per game. He is shooting 49 percent from the floor and has three games of 20 points or more, including a 28-point effort against Brewton-Parker.

Charles-Eddie Smith, Edward Waters: No player has been more consistent for the Tigers than Smith who has reached double figures in scoring in 15 of 21 games this season. He is 35 points away from 500 in his career. His career high is 26.

No. 6 Talladega (19-4, 6-1) at Philander Smith (13-11, 6-3) (Tip-off 5:00 PM CT): The Tornadoes rose three spots in the top 25 this week and have won three straight since their loss to Dillard on Jan. 23. Talladega sits just a half-game ahead of the Bleu Devils for first place in the GCAC standings and two games ahead of the Philander Smith. Talladega won the first meeting with the Panthers, 91-79 in Tornado Alley. Philander Smith has also won three in a row, getting to two games above .500 for the first time this season. This is the last home game of the season for the Panthers, who finish the year with four straight on the road.

Players to watch: Jordan Washington, Talladega: Washington is the reigning GCAC Player of the Week and the league’s leading scorer at 22 points per game. He averaged 25 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in three games this past week. Philander Smith had some success defending him in their first meeting, holding him to 19 points on 6-19 shooting.

Rashad Brackeen: Brackeen may be the best shooter in the GCAC. He’s averaging 18 points per game while knocking down 45 percent of his shots, including 42 percent from three-point range. His 31-point effort against Tougaloo on Monday night tied his career high and gave him his third 30-point game of the season.

GCAC Game of the Week

No. 21 Dillard (14-7, 5-1) at Xavier (16-8, 3-4) (Tip-off 5:00 PM CT): This rivalry has always been heated, but it hasn’t mattered this much to both teams in quite some time. Xavier hasn’t faced off against a ranked Dillard team in over a decade. The Bleu Devils enter the contest coming off a loss to another intercity rival, Loyola on Tuesday. The Gold Rush had their streak of being ranked in 55 consecutive Top 25 Coaches’ polls after dropping three out of four games, but defeated SUNO earlier this week. This game has two teams that feature contrasting styles; Dillard’s uptempo attack against Xavier’s half court system. There will be plenty of talent on the court with several All-GCAC and All-America candidates taking the floor. On the sidelines there will be no shortage of experience with Mike Newell and Dannton Jackson combining for more than 600 career victories.

Players to watch: Houston Chatman, Dillard: Chatman was a preseason All-GCAC selection, but struggled to find a place in the Bleu Devil rotation for most of the season. However, in Dillard’s last two games Chatman has scored 27 points on 11-for-17 shooting. The most experienced member of the Bleu Devil lineup could be an “X-factor” in Dillard’s late season push for a conference championship.

Morris Wright, Xavier: Wright continues to add to his legacy as one of the great players in Xavier and GCAC history. He’s reached double figures in scoring in each game this season for the Gold Rush, topping the 20-point mark 11 times. Wright has scored 1391 points in his career and is 35 points away from his second straight 500-point season.

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