Auburn grinds out win in OT over Xavier in Maui; No. 1 Duke awaits

November 19, 2018 By Cameron Caldwell

Anfernee McLemore (24) vs. Xavier at the Maui Invitational – Nov. 19, 2018 Credit: Al Sermano/Auburn Athletics

Many would think a trip to Maui during Thanksgiving week would be both relaxing and quiet. Well, Monday’s first round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational proved all but relaxing and quiet for the #8 Tigers as they defeated the Xavier Musketeers 88-79 in overtime.

Auburn started out 4-20 in the first couple of minutes but stayed in the game due to some stingy defense. The 3-ball was not falling either as Auburn came out of the gates hitting just 2 of their first 14 deep attempts.

The two guards for Auburn proved to be the difference though, as Jared Harper finished with a career-high 25 points along with 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Bryce Brown led all scorers as he poured in 26 points.

Ryan Welage led the way for Xavier as he scored 17 points on 50% shooting from the field. Paul Scruggs also had a nice game as he scored 16 points and collected 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

The score was tied at 77-77 at the end of regulation. Auburn outscored the Musketeers 11-2 in the extra period to pull away for the win. Jared Harper shined in OT, but there was one moment that captured the country’s attention:

The dunk shooketh the entire Hawaiian isle and everyone on it including the Xavier Musketeers.

An honorable mention award deserves to go to Horace Spencer. Anfernee McLemore and Austin Wiley fouled out at the end of regulation, and the senior forward out of Philadelphia manned the middle, picking up 4 key rebounds and playing with relentless energy.

The Tigers advanced to the semifinals where they’ll play #1 Duke in an early season Top 10 battle for college basketball supremacy. Defeating the Blue Devils will be a tall task for Auburn, but I can promise you the Tigers won’t be scared and are sure to raise their level of play when facing the best of the best. Duke destroyed Kentucky 118-84 a couple weeks back, but Auburn’s no slouch, blowing out a Top 25 opponent in Washington, 88-66.

Tune in to watch the Tigers from Maui Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ct 0n ESPN.