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Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic

Xavian McKay (Courtesy of Dillard Athletics)

The 12th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic is scheduled for Saturday, February 29 at Lakefront Arena. 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.

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Allstate Sugar Bowl Basketball

Rosie Davis (Courtesy of Dillard Athletics)

Dillard University defeated Xavier, 81-70, for its  fourth straight victory on the men’s basketball side of the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic. The Dillard women had their own two-game series winning streak snapped by Xavier as the Bleu Devils fell 60-55.

In the men’s game, Dillard trailed by six early in the second half, but five straight points from Rick Curry (game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds) and a Jamerson Roberts three-pointer sparked an 11-2 Bleu Devil run to put them on top, 55-46. The Gold Rush would cut the margin to five with 1:36 to go, but key free throw shooting from Tyrell Alcorn and Jeffrey Todd iced the victory. Xavier was led by 19 points from Rayshawn Mart.

Alyssa Washington tired to propel the Dillard women to a comeback victory in the early game. Her 15-point effort was capped by a three-pointer that brought the Bleu Devils within one at 56-55 with 24 seconds to go. However, the Gold Nuggets sealed the 60-55 victory from the line. Essence Wells scored 18 points and Jas Hill added 16 for Xavier. Jaiylan Brown added 10 points off the bench for Dillard.

The historic rivalry between the two schools began on Jan. 17, 1948 when the men’s basketball teams first clashed on the hardwood.The 2020 meeting will be the 142nd (including a February 15 meeting at Xavier) in history between the Gold Rush and the Blue Devils, with Xavier holding an 85-55 advantage. The schools first met in women’s basketball action during the 1977-78 season. The Gold Nuggets and Lady Blue Devils have played 93 times with Xavier on top 70-23 in the all-time series (entering 2019-20).

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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