NEW ORLEANS — RJ Daniels scored 17 points, and freshman Kevin Murph made three consecutive 3-pointers during a first-half run Wednesday which lifted NAIA No. 14 Xavier University of Louisiana to a 64-55 men’s basketball victory against Auburn Montgomery.
The Gold Rush (14-5) won for the fifth time in six games and are 12-1 at home this season.
Daniels was 6-of-8 from the floor and made 5-of-6 free throws in 25 1/2 minutes. The senior grabbed six rebounds to share team honors with Chris Ward.
Xavier trailed 27-22 after Romoane Eager’s 3-pointer at 9:31 of the first half, but the Gold Rush scored the next 17 points, with Murph making 3-of-3 from long range during the run. Elex Carter’s two free throws at 4:30 ended the surge and gave Xavier a 39-27 lead. The Gold Rush led 46-33 at halftime.
Carter’s basket at 18:54 of the second half gave Xavier its largest lead, 48-33. The Warhawks (9-7) cut the margin to 54-50 in the 34th minute but got no closer.
Morris Wright scored 12 points, all in the first half, for Xavier. Murph and Carter scored nine points apiece. Carter and Lucas Martin-Julien had four assists apiece; Carter’s total was a career best.
Eager led Auburn Montgomery with 17 points and seven rebounds. Tristen Harrell scored eight points, and Desmond DeRamus had seven points, six assists and four steals.
Xavier outshot the Warhawks 48.9 to 35.6 percent from the floor and outrebounded them 36-23.
Xavier will travel to Talladega, Ala., for a 5 p.m. Saturday game in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference at NAIA No. 8 Talladega. The next Gold Rush home game will start at 7:30 p.m. Monday against GCAC opponent Tougaloo at the Convocation Center.
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