Xavier Sweeps Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Basketball Classic
NEW ORLEANS (February 23, 2012) – Xavier University swept Dillard University in both the men’s and women’s basketball games at the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic on Saturday evening on the Battlefield in Dent Hall, Dillard’s home gym. The Gold Rush men’s team posted a 67-43 victory over the Bleu Devils, while the Gold Nuggets women’s team edged Dillard, 59-53.
The win for the men’s team handed Xavier (22-7 overall, 11-3 GCAC) a share of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season title, while the women’s victory gave Xavier (22-8, 11-2) the outright league title.
In the men’s game, Xavier’s Denzell Erves recorded 18 points and nine rebounds for the Gold Rush, ranked No. 25 in the nation in NAIA Division I. Anthony Simmons added 16 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Lance Theard led the Bleu Devils had 12 points and six rebounds for Dillard (1-28, 1-13).
Jasmine Grant scored 16 points to lead the Xavier women to victory in the early game. SiMon Franklin added 11 points for the Gold Nuggets. Dillard (13-11, 9-5), which rallied to within two points twice in the second half, was led by Jazzmin Smith’s 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Ariel Mitchell scored 14 points.
This is the fourth year that the Allstate Sugar Bowl has sponsored meetings between the two local universities.
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 was the 123rd in history between the Gold Rush and the Blue Devils, with Xavier now holding a 76-47 advantage. The schools first met in women’s basketball action during the 1977-78 season. The Gold Nuggets and Lady Blue Devils have played 76 times with Xavier on top 57-19 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 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.