AUBURN, Ala. - Kenny Gabriel and Willy Kouassi had five blocks apiece as Auburn swatted a program-record 17 shots in a 78-57 win over Nicholls State on Friday night.
With the 6-foot-8 Gabriel and 6-10 Kouassi leading the way, the Tigers used size to their advantage against the Colonels (1-5), who don’t have a player taller than 6-7.
The Tigers tied Kentucky - which blocked 17 shots against Morehead State in 1998 - for second on the Southeastern Conference’s all-time, single-game list and came up one short of the record set by Arkansas against Missouri in 1996.
Auburn had recorded 15 blocks twice before, against Jacksonville State in 1998 and against Miami in the 2001 NIT.
Varez Ward set a career high with 20 points, tied his career high with eight rebounds and had five assists.
Chris Talkington scored 20 for the Colonels and Trevon Lewis added 15 points and 12 rebounds.
TULANE 83, ALCORN STATE 41: In New Orleans, Ricky Tarrant had 15 points and 12 different players scored for Tulane, which stayed unbeaten with a rout of Alcorn State.
Kendall Timmons added 14 points, while Josh Davis scored 12 and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Green Wave (5-0). Jordan Callahan also had 12 points.
Tulane shot 52.9 percent (27 of 51) from the field and 63.6 percent (7 of 11) from 3-point range in the Hoops for Hope Classic on its home court. The Braves were just 28 percent (14 of 50) from the field, including a 15.8 mark (3 of 19) from long range.
Alcorn State jumped out to a lead that wouldn’t last long, as Davis’ 3-pointer tied the game 3-all at the 18:47 mark of the opening half and Tarrant’s two free throws less than a minute later put the Green Wave ahead the rest of the way in a rout.
LOUISIANA TECH 73, MARYLAND-EASTERN SHORE 54: In Laramie, Wyo., behind 14 second-half points from guard Trevor Gaskins, the Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team (2-1) defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-5) in the first game of the Jim Thorpe Classic.
Gaskins led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points, while forward J.L. Lewis added a career-high 13. Romario Souza added 11 in his first start of the season, with guard Cordarius Johnson and forward Michale Kyser scoring 10 and 11 points, respectively.
The second half began with stifling defense from the Bulldogs as they held the Hawks without a field goal for the first 8:32. During that time Tech went up 43-35 on a 14-4 run with Gaskins scoring six.
The Bulldogs shot 25 of 56 (46.4 per cent) for the game, including 17 of 29 (58.6 per cent) in the second half.
Tech went 14 of 24 from the free throw line with the 24 attempts more than doubling the team’s total entering the contest.
SAN DIEGO 64, NEW ORLEANS 56: In New Orleans, San Diego escaped Fogelman Arena with a victory over the University of New Orleans.
Ken Rancifer scored 14 points to lead USD (3-1) as the Toreros snapped a three-game winning streak for UNO (3-3). Chris Manrensa and Darian Norris added 11 and 10 points, respectively for a USD team that overcame 24 turnovers.
The Privateers were led by Lovell Cook, who scored 16 points. Albert Peterson added another eight points with the duo of Antonio Wertz and Generra Varmall contributing seven points apiece.
The loss was third for UNO against an NCAA Division I squad this year, though the margin was the closest against a foe operating with a scholarship advantage over the Privateers, who are presently in the midst of a transition to NCAA Division II.
UNO capitalized off turnovers in the opening half, scoring 18 points off the 14 miscues.
by the Toreros prior to the break. The turnovers allowed the Privateers to stay within reach of the lead, despite shooting 34.6 percent compared to an even 50 percent for USD.
UNO will continue their weekend in the Hoops for Hope Classic with a contest Saturday at 7 p.m. against Tulane. The Privateers’ finale game of the weekend slate is a Sunday home date against Alcorn State.