Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wright's strong 2nd half pushes XU past Carver, 69-57

NEW ORLEANS -- Senior guard Morris Wright scored all 17 points in the second half Friday to lift NAIA No. 19 Xavier University of Louisiana to a 69-57 men's basketball victory against Carver.

The Gold Rush won for the second consecutive day and are 2-0 for the 13th straight season.

Wright, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year, scored 16 points in the final 12:18 -- including back-to-back 3-pointers in the 34th minute -- to build on the Gold Rush's 33-29 advantage. Xavier took its largest lead, 57-38, on Chris Ward's basket with 5:06 remaining.

"This was one of his best floor games," XU coach Dannton Jackson said of Wright, who also had a game-high five assists. "He let game come to him and didn't force anything."

Wright led Xavier in scoring in both games this season and needs 38 points to become the 25th Gold Rush player to reach 1,000 in a career.

Lucas Martin-Julien, with 10 points, was Xavier's other double-figure scorer. RJ Daniels scored nine points, all in the first half, and newcomers Ward and Leland Alexander scored eight points apiece.

Troy Swanson scored 15 points and Brannon Hopkins 14 for Carver (0-1), a National Christian College Athletic Association member from Atlanta, and Jamil Saaka had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Ward, Alexander and another newcomer, Elex Carter, combined for 20 of Xavier's 39 rebounds. Carter and Ward grabbed eight apiece, and Alexander had six.

Xavier led 26-23 at halftime.

The Gold Rush outshot the Cougars 46.7 to 25 percent from the floor. Xavier made 23-of-32 second-half free throws after 1-of-2 in the first half.

Jackson, in his 13th season and the Gold Rush's all-time winningest coach, is 275-117.

Xavier's next game will be a 7 p.m. Wednesday exhibition at NCAA Division I's Southeastern Louisiana.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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