DALLAS — Cory Wells scored a career-high 21 points Saturday to lead Xavier University of Louisiana in a 72-64 Red River Athletic Conference men’s basketball victory at Paul Quinn.
The Gold Rush (10-5 overall, 6-3 RRAC) won for the fourth time in five games. XULA will play host to NAIA No. 23 LSU-Shreveport at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Convocation Center.
Wells, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, became the first Gold Rush player to reach 20 points in a game this season. Wells has played well in his home state — he averaged 14.3 points and shot 55.6 percent from the floor and 76.5 percent from the line in four Texas games this season.
Jeremy Lindsey’s 3-pointer from the left corner with 12:44 remaining broke a tie at 46 and put XULA ahead to stay.
Lance Williams scored 14 points — his most since mid-November — and was 5-of-7 from the floor for XULA, and teammate TJ Jones scored a season-high-tying 12 points on 5-of-6 from the floor. Xavier Reaves had eight points and nine rebounds.
Mohammed Bensalah had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Paul Quinn (7-5, 5-5), and Ja’mere Redus scored 10. The Tigers have lost 5-of-7 games after a 5-0 start.
XULA led 15-6 through six minutes, but it was 38-all at halftime. The Gold Rush limited the Tigers to 26 second-half points — the first time in eight games that XULA allowed less than 30 points in the final 20 minutes.
“We started playing together like a team in the second half,” XULA head coach Alfred Williams said. “The discipline was off in the first half. But in the second half we put a few plays together and got some rhythm. We got stops and scores.”
XULA outshot Paul Quinn 58.2 to 38.2 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Tigers 35-30. Paul Quinn stayed close with free throws; the Tigers made 19-of-29 to XULA’s 5-of-9. XULA is 10-0 this season when it outscores the opponent in the second half.
XULA remained in third place in the RRAC, but LSUS and Texas A&M-Texarkana traded positions at the top. TAMUT moved into first place at 8-2 after its 85-74 home victory against Louisiana Christian and the Pilots’ 93-86 loss at Jarvis Christian. LSUS is 8-3 in conference.