NEW ORLEANS — Christopher Ward scored 23 points Monday, and Philander Smith rallied late for a 70-62 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball victory against Xavier University of Louisiana.
Ward and Braylon Spicer made back-to-back 3-pointers during a 14-0 run that gave the Panthers (11-10, 4-3) a 61-52 lead with 1:04 remaining. Spicer’s 3 at 2:56 put Philander Smith ahead to stay, 54-52, and Ward hit his only trey of the game to make it 57-52 at 2:10.
Spicer scored 14 points, and Broderick Brandon had 13 for the Panthers.
Jalen David scored 14 points for the Gold Rush (8-15, 4-4) and reached double figures for a team-leading 14th time this season. Seth Jackson scored 13 points, Donovan Armstrong 12 and Innocent Kukulu 11 for XULA.
Philander Smith made 31-of-36 free throws to XULA’s 10-of-19.
In the first half the teams combined for 38 points and 25-percent shooting from the floor. The halftime score was 19-all. The numbers changed dramaticaly in the second half. The Panthers and Gold Rush combined for 94 points and 64.3-percent shooting from the floor.
XULA lost for the fourth time in five games and the second straight time at home. The Gold Rush will play host to Concordia (Ala.) — a top-10 team in the USCAA — at 7 p.m. Thursday.