Generals hold off Xavier in season opener, 92-65

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ALEXANDRIA-- The No. 2-ranked LSUA men’s basketball team continues to protect home court, moving to 40-0 inside The Fort and winning the team’s 50th straight regular season contest with a convincing 92-65 win over the Xavier Gold Rush Wednesday night.

The Generals took no time to assert their dominance, scoring two quick lay-ups before a rain storm of threes started to fall. With a 4-0 lead, Joseph Feraci got the three-point party started, hitting to make it 7-0 Generals just 2:05 into the game. After Xavier split a pair at the free throw line, it was three straight LSUA threes, started again by Feraci, then Jordin Williams got in on the act before Evan Smith closed out the run, which gave the Generals a 16-1 lead less than four minutes into the game.

After the barrage, the Gold Rush fought back to get back within ten points as Jalen David grabbed a rebound and took it himself to the cup to make the score 18-8. That would be as close as Xavier could get the rest of the night. They would also close the gap to ten on Timothy Jordan’s bucket that made the score 20-10 with less than 11:30 to go in the first half.

With the lead meandering in the low to mid-teens for most of the remainder of the first half, the Generals would use one last kick right before the break to really open up some space. Leading 33-22, Shannon James, Jr. found Evan Smith who had popped open above the arc for a three with four minutes left in the half that started a 12-2 LSUA run. William Claiborne used the inside out game, finding Smith again with 45 seconds remaining for another three ball to cap the run and give LSUA its largest lead of the period at 45-24. The two teams went to the break with the Generals on top 45-26.

LSUA started the second half just like the first, immediately piling on points to put no doubt in the game’s eventual result. Smith got to the bucket and scored to start a 16-4 Generals run right out of the break that Brandon Moss capped with a steal and emphatic dunk to build the score to 61-30 just five minutes into the back half.

For the next ten minutes, the Generals steadily built the lead, getting it to its peak at 41 points on a Bradley Savoy three pointer with less than 5:30 to go in the contest. From then, Xavier slowly whittled the lead down as garbage time points racked up to its final score.

“Our players came out with an intense focus right from the start,” said LSUA head coach Larry Cordaro, “and they carried it most of the way throughout the game. I’m pleased to see we got 21 assists on the night, which shows we kept the ball moving. We also kept a really good opponent in Xavier to just 24 first half points, which says a lot to me. I also have to commend the crowd tonight. It felt like February in November in The Fort tonight, with the same fans bringing the same excitement like they always have.”

Jordin Williams led the way in scoring, collecting a game-high 17 points. Evan Smith finished the evening with 16 points. Brandon Moss and William Claiborne each finished with 11 points, with Claiborne coming up just one rebound shy of a double-double with a game-high nine boards. The Generals shot 46.8% from the field in the contest, including 40.7% from above the three-point arc, while holding Xavier (4-1) to 41.0% shooting and just 26.7% from three.

The Generals (1-0) are back at home in a week’s time as Loyola (2-1) comes to Alexandria next Wednesday. Tip off against the Wolf Pack is set for 7 p.m. in The Fort