NEW ORLEANS — Morris Wright scored 19 points, including the go-ahead free throws in the final minute, to rally NAIA No. 19 Xavier University of Louisiana in a 75-73 men's basketball victory against Webber International.
The Gold Rush won a season opener for the 20th consecutive time. Coach Dannton Jackson is 13-0 in season openers.
Xavier never led in the second half until Wright produced a steal and was fouled with 30 seconds remaining. His two free throws gave the Gold Rush a 74-73 lead. Wright concluded the scoring by making 1-of-2 free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining.
The Warriors (0-1) missed two field-goal attempts in the final five seconds. Their final try was by Jovany Decues from the foul line as time expired.
After a halftime tie at 37, Webber International took a pair of seven-point leads, the second after a Decues basket at 4:22.
Wright, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year, made three of Xavier's four 3-pointers and had four rebounds and four steals. Lucas Martin-Julien, playing for the first time since the 2013-14 season, had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Gold Rush.
Giovanni Poitier had 13 points and eight rebounds for Webber International, an NAIA Division II member from Babson Park, Fla., and Sam Auguste had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Webber International made 12 3-pointers and outshot Xavier 40 to 36.5 percent from the floor, but Xavier made 33-of-42 free throws to the Warriors' 13-of-22. Martin-Julien made 9-of-10 free throws, and Wright and RJ Daniels made 6-of-8 apiece. Xavier won the boards 43-37, with Daniels grabbing seven rebounds and Wesley Pluviose-Philip getting six.
Xavier will play host to Carver College of Atlanta at 6 p.m. Friday.
Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director
XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA