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Gold Nuggets reach top 10 for first time since 2013

Terry Jones | 12/15/2015, 10:36 a.m. | Updated on 12/15/2015, 10:36 a.m.
Xavier University of Louisiana reached the top 10 in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll for ...
Xavier University of Louisiana reached the top 10 in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Xavier University of Louisiana reached the top 10 in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll for the first time since the 2012-13 season. The Gold Nuggets climbed from 21st to ninth in the poll, which was announced Tuesday.

Xavier (9-2) has won 3-of-4 games against ranked NAIA DI teams, including Shawnee State and Langston on consecutive days and Our Lady of the Lake in a fourth-quarter rally from 17 points down. Xavier was behind all three opponents in the preseason ranking but has leapfrogged all three. Our Lady of the Lake is tied for 10th, Shawnee State is 12th, and Langston is 18th.

The top-10 appearance is the Nuggets' first since Feb. 26, 2013, and it's their highest ranking since they were ninth on Jan. 8, 2013. The climb of 12 places is the largest in Bo Browder's 17 seasons as head coach.

The poll is the first of the regular season since the preseason ranking Oct. 27. The next top 25 will be announced Jan. 5.

The Gold Nuggets are taking fall-semester final exams this week. They'll resume their schedule Dec. 17 against Indiana Wesleyan — ranked ninth in NAIA Division II — at 11 a.m. EST in the Cruzin Classic at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The next home game will start at 3 p.m. Jan. 2 against NAIA No. 22 LSU-Shreveport at the Convocation Center.

Gold Rush climb to 17th, improve poll streak to 52

Eight victories in the first 11 games, including a 4-0 record against NCAA Division II opponents, helped Xavier University of Louisiana climb into a tie for 17th Tuesday in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll.

The Gold Rush, 19th in the preseason, share the position with Martin Methodist. Xavier is in the top 25 for the 52nd consecutive time — the longest active streak in the division — and the 65th time in the last 66 polls.

Xavier defeated NCAA D2 opponents Spring Hill, Miles, LeMoyne-Owen and Clark Atlanta by an average of 11 1/2 points. All the victories were at home, where the Gold Rush are 8-0 this season.

Xavier is one of two Gulf Coast Athletic Conference teams in the top 25. The other is Talladega, which dropped from third to 11th. For the first time since Dec. 10, 2013, four GCAC teams received votes. Dillard and Tougaloo were among the "others receiving votes."

Unbeaten Pikeville received 9-of-10 first-place votes and replaced defending champion Dalton State at No. 1. There are nine top-25 teams which weren't ranked in the preseason, including No. 6 William Penn, which competed in NAIA Division II last season.

The rankings are the first of the regular season. The next rankings will be announced Jan. 5.

The XU men are taking fall-semester final exams this week. They'll resume their schedule at 7 p.m. Saturday against William Carey in Hattiesburg, Miss. The next home game will start at 5 p.m. Dec. 29 against LSU-Shreveport in the Gold Rush Holiday Classic at the Convocation Center.