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The number eight seed Dillard University had its Cinderella run come to an abrupt halt in the championship game of the 2013 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference tournament as they fell to the number two seed Philander Smith College 65-45 at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock. The game was dubbed "The Battle of the HipHopPrez" since Dillard's president (Dr. Walter Kimbrough, a.k.a. the 'HipHopPrez') spent the last seven years as Philander's president.
The only challenge that he gave Dillard's athletic teams before the year started was to "defeat Philander Smith," but the championship game loss allowed Philander Smith to take a 4-3 lead in the overall head to head match up this season against Dillard (volleyball & basketball combined).
The Bleu Devils got off to a solid start as freshman Tyrone Williams (FR/Marrero, LA) continued his hot shooting streak and finished with 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting, but the Panthers made a key substitution midway through the first half when former Razorback player Andre Clark entered the game. The 6'9" center immediately made his presence felt finishing with 19 points and 13 rebounds in the game.
Despite trailing by just seven points at the half, the Bleu Devils had no answer for Clark throughout the course of the game as Philander Smith pulled away to win the second half by a 15 point margin. Coach Bernard Griffith and his Bleu Devils used a six man rotation for nearly the entirety of the tourney and the fatigue finally caught up to the young squad. Out of the eight players on Dillard's tournament roster, all were either freshmen or sophomores.
Freshman Norvel Shelby (FR/Baton Rouge, LA) had a solid game for Dillard with 12 points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist, but freshman Jarrain Jenkins (FR/White Castle, LA) had the worst shooting performance of his stellar season, going 1-for-16 from the field as he finished with just three points but grabbed 14 rebounds and added one steal.
Williams and Jenkins were both named to the 2013 GCAC All-Tournament team.
In the semi-final of the GCAC tournament, Dillard pulled off another astronomical upset with a 58-54 victory over the number five seed Southern University at New Orleans. Freshman Tyrone Williams finished with 26 points, hitting 10-of 16 shots from the field and nailing 4-of-6 three pointers. Williams also pulled down six boards, produced two steals, one block and one assist in 40 minutes of action. GCAC Freshman of the Year Jenkins finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. Dillard played fantastic defense throughout the game and held SUNO to just 32 percent shooting from the field.
In the first round of the GCAC tourney, the number eight seed Dillard University pulled off the upset of a lifetime with a 59-56 victory over the numer one seed Xavier University. Thanks to Dillard's stellar zone defense, Xavier shot just 30 percent from the field for the game.
Jenkins scored a game-high 23 points, nailing 10-of-18 shots from the field. He also pulled down nine rebounds, produced two assists and two steals in just over 37 minutes.
Sophomore Jordan Kilson (SO/Los Angeles, CA) filled up the stat sheet for the Bleu Devils with 14 points, six boards, five assists and four steals, and Williams had a stellar game as he finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one block in 40 minutes of action for Dillard.
Dillard ends the season with a 5-21 record.
*Photo provided by Nelson Chenault