The Tigers will play the University of Denver in round two at 4:30 p.m. CST on Saturday in the eight-team event.
Sophomore forward Marco Killingsworth led the Tigers in scoring with 18 points in 23 minutes of action against the physically overmatched NCAA Division II team. Marquis Daniels added 15 points, reserve forward Rodney Tucker scored 12, reserve guard Nathan Watson scored his career high of 11 points and Derrick Bird added 10.
The Tigers, who won the San Juan Shootout in 1995 and 1999 in their previous two appearances in the event, took control early and were never seriously threatened by the Tarzans. Auburn led 52-28 at halftime in the game played at the Hector Sola Bez Coliseum.
"Nathan Watson, Rodney Tucker and Donny Calton gave us huge lifts off the bench," Auburn coach Cliff Ellis said. "Nathan really gave us a boost in the first half with his three-pointers." Watson hit three three-point shots in the first half. Calton scored eight points and led the Tigers in rebounding with seven. The walk-on added three steals and three assists. Junior center enter Kyle Davis also had nine rebounds plus five blocked shots.
The Tigers will play Denver, a 79-72 winner over James Madison in the second round. Troy State defeated Northeastern 89-72 and will play Duquesne, a 74-63 winner over Sacred Heart on Friday.
Auburn shot just 43.8 percent for the game, but the home team made only 39.4 percent of its shots. Auburn outrebounded Puerto Rico-Mayaguez 35-30, but continued to have turnover problems with 18. However, the Tarzans were worse with 25 turnovers.
Auburn's round two opponents, the Denver Pioneers, play in the Sun Belt Conference. It will be the first basketball game ever between the two schools. If Auburn wins on Saturday, the Tigers will advance to the championship game on Sunday vs. either Troy State or Duquesne.