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Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic

Photo Courtesy of Dillard Athletics

The 11th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic will be played Saturday, February 16 at Dent Hall on the Dillard campus. The Bleu Devil women’s basketball team hosts crosstown rival Xavier at 3 p.m., followed by the Dillard men battling the Xavier men at 5 p.m.

Allstate Sugar Bowl Basketball

In addition to the Bleu Devil Classic basketball games, Dillard will host its annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala on Friday evening at 7 p.m. in the atrium of the Professional Schools and Sciences Building. Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee Member Ronnie Burns, the organization’s president for 2008-09, will be recognized as the school’s Bleu Flame of Excellence recipient. The Bleu Flame of Excellence was created to honor members in the community who have demonstrated excellence in community service and athletics. Dillard’s 2019 Hall of Fame Class will also be introduced.

The Dillard men are currently 15-7 overall and tied for second with an 8-2 record in Gulf Coast Athletic Conference action. Xavier’s men are 14-12 overall and 5-5 in GCAC play. On the women’s side, Dillard is 16-9 with a 7-3 league mark, good enough for third place. However, the powerful Xavier Gold Nuggets are 19-6 overall and pace the GCAC with a 9-1 record.

The Bleu Devils have swept both games in the last two Allstate Blue Devil Classics, however, when the teams met earlier this season at Xavier’s Convocation Center, it was Xavier which pulled off the sweep. The Gold Rush (men) topped the Bleu Devils, 83-76, while the Gold Nuggets (women) won 66-54.

The historic rivalry between the two schools began on Jan. 17, 1948 when the men’s basketball teams first clashed on the hardwood. Saturday’s meeting will be the 140th in history between the Gold Rush and the Blue Devils, with Xavier holding an 85-54 advantage. The schools first met in women’s basketball action during the 1977-78 season. The Gold Nuggets and Lady Blue Devils have played 92 times with Xavier on top 69-23 in the all-time series.

Three players in the XU-DU men’s series reached the NBA. Xavier’s Donald “Slick” Watts played six seasons with three NBA teams from 1973-79. Watts was the first player to lead the NBA in assists and steals in the same season (1975-76). Gold Rush teammate Bruce Seals played three NBA seasons (1975-78) after two seasons in the ABA. Dillard’s George Johnson played 13 seasons with six NBA teams from 1972-86 and ranks 13th in the NBA with 2,082 career blocked shots. Johnson was a member of the Golden State Warriors’ 1975 NBA championship team, and Seals played in the NBA Finals in 1978 with the Seattle SuperSonics.

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