NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDAM) - William Carey University men’s basketball team lost its shooting touch at the end of each half Monday night, falling 77-63 to 20th-ranked Xavier University in the Crusaders' season opener.
Carey (0-1) led through the majority of the first half, building a 10-point lead with 9 minutes, 38 seconds, to play.
But two 3-pointers by guard Ed Carter sparked a 9-0 Xavier run and over the next few minutes, the teams swapped short-lived leads.
A basket by Maxwell Starwood gave the Crusaders their final lead of the game, 22-21, before another trey by Charles gave the Rams (2-0) the lead for good with 6:28 to play in the half.
Carey made just one field goal over the final 6:33 of the first half, as Xavier outscored the Crusaders 13-6 for a 37-28 halftime lead.
The Crusaders got back within three points, 49-46, on a Jonathan Floyd 3-poiter with 10:18 to play,
The Rams answered with a 12-2 run to push the lead out to 13 points, 61-48, but Floyd had five points in a 7-0 burst as Carey pulled back with 61-55 with 6:29 to go.
But Xavier outscored the Crusaders 16-8 down the stretch to lock up the win.
Carey shot just 35.9 percent from the floor and 65.2 percent from the free-throw line. The Crusaders also had 12 assists to 19 turnovers. Xavier had 17 assists to 12 turnovers.
Forward Emile Kazenez led Carey with 14 points and eight rebounds, while guard Sayveon Bumpers added 14 points off the bench.
Floyd finished with 12 points and six rebounds, while back-up guard Zarkeichious Martin pulled down eight boards.
Xavier got a game-high 26 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals from guard Rayshawn Mart. He became just the second Ram over the past 13 years to score 25 points or more in consecutive games.
Guards Makye Richard and Cameron Downs combined for 21 points and five rebounds off the bench for Xavier.
Carey will host Southeastern Baptist College at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14.