Bulldogs knock off #19 Xavier to grab first place in conference

(L-R) Malcolm Sanders, Juan Gray, Erik Burks (NLP), Derek Burks (NLP), Horace Whitehead, Donteeno Todd, Clinton Houston (NLP), Dawton Quieroz, Jurmond Cattenhead, Denzel Hardy, Kadon Day, James Carter. Not pictured: Frederick Griffin. (NLP: No longer playing)

JANS -The Tougaloo College Men’s Basketball team played host to 19th ranked Xavier University here  in the Dawg Pound.  The Bulldogs, who ranked #24, knocked off the Gold Rush 69-64 to grab first place in the conference with a record of 5-1.

With a five game winning streak going into the game, the Bulldogs looked for two things; to advance that win streak to six games and to grab first place in the conference.  But to do that, they had to get past the Gold Rush, who held the first place slot with a 5-1 conference record.  Early in the first half, the Gold Rush would attack the basket, taking an early lead over the Bulldogs.  The Bulldogs would struggle offensively for the top of the first half, but would pull together midway through the half to gain the lead.  The Bulldogs and the Gold Rush would battle, but it was the Bulldogs who went into the locker room with a 33-32 halftime edge.

In the second half, the battle of the Top 25 continued between the Bulldogs and the Gold Rush.  The Bulldogs maintained the lead for majority of the half, but the Gold Rush tried to take the lead from under the Bulldogs.  With 1:24 left in the game, the Gold Rush pulled within two with a pair of free throws by Cordell Hadnot.  With the Bulldogs having possession of the ball, Marquise Mems was fouled and sent to the line.  Mems went 1-2 to move the Bulldogs lead to 62-59 with 1:19 left in the game. The Gold Rush got the ball and tie the game 62-62 with a 3-pointer by Chris Iles.

With less than a minute left in the game and a couple of fouls by both teams, the score was 67-64.  With 0:15 left in the game and a missed free throw by Mems gave the Gold Rush the ball, Xavier’s coach  took a timeout.  With 0:06 left, the Gold Rush turned the ball over with the steal by Juan Gray.  Gray missed the shot, but Mems rebounded the ball and made the ending lay up to secure the 69-64 victory.

Mems led the Bulldogs with 26 points and 11 rebounds.  Donteeno Todd chipped in 13 points and Juan Gray tacked in 11 points.  Horace Whitehead, ended the night with 8 points and 6 rebounds, had a game-high 6 blocks for the Bulldogs.  The Bulldogs will be back in action on Saturday, January 28, 2012 as they play host to Edward Waters College of Jacksonville, FL.  Tip-off is set for 7:00 P.M.