Dillard and Xavier take a win each in tense but friendly Crosstown Classic.
Jeffery Ugwuanyi | 1/31/2017, 7:40 p.m.
It was cold on Saturday. The temperature was in the mid 50’s, but that did not stop the Convocation Center at Xavier University of Louisiana’s campus from heating up for the annual Crosstown Classic held on Saturday Jan. 28, 2017.
A sea of gold and black, mixed with some hints of blue, filled the arena. Fans participated in signature university crowd chants punched the air with excitement and anticipation. The time had come for the classic rivalry between Xavier and Dillard University, where the Xavier’s women’s basketball team came out as victors, and Dillard’s men’s team also took a win back to the Gentilly campus.
For Xavier to lose it all on home turf, senior, New Orleans native, Kelsee Singleton’s nail biting finish was a highlight of the night for the home crowd.
“I was happy to see Kelsee knock down that shot,” said Bo Browder, the head coach for Xavier’s women’s basketball team. However, the same cannot be said for the Xavier men’s basketball team, who suffered a devastating loss to the Dillard Bleu Devils for a home game.
“Unfortunately we didn’t pay attention to details and we got beat up tonight,” said Alfred Williams, Xavier’s men’s team head coach. Williams said the men’s team missed a lot of opportunities but he commended freshman Donovan Armstrong of Round Rock, Texas, for fighting throughout the game despite being ejected.
Gold Nuggets come from behind
Dillard’s Lady Bleu Devils started off hot in the game, while Xavier’s Gold Nuggets had many issues that appeared throughout the whole game, coach Browder said after. Fouls, poor defense, and countless mistakes held the Gold Nuggets back from taking control of the game. After a relentless offense and aggressive defense, Xavier left the halftime trailing 31-28.
Xavier added to the suspense by opening up the second half with early mistakes. However, the crowd found new life when freshman forward Gina Smith created an “and-one” which brought the game to within three points With the game tied at 63 with a minute to go in the fourth quarter, a clutch three pointer by Dillard guard Alyssa Washington put the Lady Bleu Devils up 65-66. Hearts started racing and the anticipation rose as both teams fought until the final possession with 2.4 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. The possession then went to Xavier, and the game relied on this final play. The ball went inbound and eventually landed in the hands of center Kelsee Singleton who made the game winning three-point shot.
“I was wide open on the wing and called for it,” Singleton said, “and I just felt really confident when it left my hand.”
Dillard men’s team dominate
The highly anticipated boys game went underway with the Gold Rush opening up the game with a couple of three pointers from freshman guard Donovan Armstrong and junior forward Elex Carter. However, the men from Dillard quickly increased their offense. Dillard’s aggressive offense seemed to be too much for the Xavier men. Lack of aggression on defense, costly mistakes on offense, and hesitation to shoot were key problems for Xavier, the coach said after.