Jalen McGaughy is new to the Dillard-Xavier rivalry, but Saturday he played like he was very familiar with its intensity.
McGaughy, the Bleu Devils' 6-foot-10 center, nearly posted a triple-double, and Dillard posted a resounding 104-71 victory at Xavier's Convocation Center in a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference game.
“I came all the way from Ann Arbor, Michigan, so as soon as I got here, (teammates) told me about the Xavier rivalry,” said McGaughy, who had a game-high 22 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks. “I just wanted to play the game I love hard and get this win, and we did that. We were real strong on the defensive end.”
It was the largest margin of victory by either team in the series since Dillard won 116-75 on Feb. 15, 1969, at Phillips Junior High's gym.
Dillard (15-5, 6-0), ranked No. 14 in NAIA, won its sixth in a row. The Bleu Devils beat the Gold Rush at Xavier in the GCAC tournament championship game last year, but Saturday was Dillard's first regular-season win at Xavier since 1999.
The Devils held Xavier (7-13, 3-2) to 9-of-38 shooting (23.7 percent) in taking a 48-28 halftime. Dillard shot 51.3 percent in the first half and 54.4 percent for the game as its lead grew in the second half.
Dillard led 57-30 less than three minutes into the second half and 96-61 with five minutes left.
“We got beaten up,” Xavier first-year coach Alfred Williams said. “They jumped on us early, beat us up in transition. … We just couldn't recover. They have a good team — a lot of upperclassmen, been to nationals. They're well experienced. They know how to win (and) pay attention to details.”
The game had its testy moments almost from the start. At 7:44 of the second half, both coaches were called to halfcourt by the officials after McGaughy was knocked to the court while trying to dunk. Xavier guard Donovan Armstrong was assessed an excessive flagrant foul, and Dillard forward Demetric Austin received a technical foul for leaving the bench. Both were ejected and will miss their next game.
“We have to be more mature than that,” Dillard coach Mike Newell said. “Our goal is more than to win the GCAC, and that takes maturity.”
XAVIER WOMEN 68, DILLARD 66: Center Kelsee Singleton sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer off an inbounds play to give Xavier (13-7, 4-1) a victory.
Guard Alyssa Washington's 3-pointer had given Dillard (12-6, 4-2) a 66-65 lead with 8.2 seconds remaining. Bleu Devils guard Adriana Jackson knocked the ball away from Xavier guard Brittany Thomas and out of bounds with 2.4 seconds left, setting up Singleton's shot.
“The play wasn't for me to take the shot,” said Singleton, a senior who prepped at Karr. “I was to get a back pick from one of our guards and roll to the basket, but it didn't happen. So I went behind the line. I knew I could make it.”
Dillard led 31-28 at halftime on the strength of 11-of-15 free-throw shooting, the result of constant drives to the basket. But the Bleu Devils trailed 60-55 with 3:19 left in the fourth quarter. They came back behind the playmaking of Jackson and tied the score at 63 with 1:08 left.
“It was a well-played game between two good teams,” Dillard coach Norbert Rome said. “We executed well down the stretch. They just had the ball last. It was that kind of game.”