Daniels Hotter Than The Tropics As AU Wins Title

Marquis Daniels scored a career high as the hot-shooting Tigers won the San Juan Shootout.

San Juan, Puerto Rico--Puerto Rico is called the shining star of the American Caribbean. After his tournament MVP performance, it is quite appropriate to call Marquis Daniels the shooting star of the island of Puerto Rico.

The Auburn senior from Orlando, Fla., was almost ready to supernova on Saturday evening in the championship game of the San Juan Shootout as he scored 38 points to lead the Tigers to a 94-66 victory over Troy State. The Tigers improved their record to 9-2 by taking all three games in the tournament and won the event for the third time in three trips to Puerto Rico.

Marquis Daniels

Daniels, a 6-6 forward, added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals and didn't have a turnover. As a team the normally sloppy ball-handling Tigers were downright stingy with their miscues, committing just 10 turnovers in a race-horse style of game.

Daniels drilled 16-21 shots as he led the Tigers to a 54.3 percent field goal shooting performance while Troy State made just 37.3 percent of its field goals. Daniels was 2-2 on three-pointers and 4-6 at the free throw line in 33 minutes of action. His previous high game was 28 points vs. Grambling on Dec. 5th, 2000.

Sophomore guard Nathan Watson, the star of the semi-finals game victory over Denver, scored 16 points in the championship to join Daniels on the all-tournament team. Sophomore forward Marco Killingsworth added 15 points and five rebounds for the Tigers and junior center Kyle Davis chipped in with a dozen points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Nathan Watson

Auburn out-rebounded Troy State 41-36 and had four fewer turnovers.

"Marquis had a great game for them tonight," Troy State coach Don Maestri said. "It was one of those nights where everything they threw up went in and we couldn't buy a basket."

The Tigers led almost the entire first half and went into intermission with a 37-32 advantage after leading by 10 points early in the half. After Troy State cut the lead to just two points, Auburn stretched the margin into double figures early in the second half and pulled away from the Trojans who had beaten SEC member Arkansas earlier this season in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

Troy State falls to 8-3 on the season. The Trojans hit 14 three-pointers in their victory over Duquesne in the semi-finals, but struggled with the three-ball vs. the Tigers, making just six of 30. Auburn made eight of 23. At the foul line, the Tigers made 10-13 while Troy State hit 10-12.

Marcus Milhouse led the Trojans with 13 points while Rob Lewin added 12 points and was named to the all-tournament team.

Auburn won the San Juan Shootout in 1995, defeating 13th-ranked Louisville 82-78 in the championship game. The Tigers won their second trip to the tournament in 1999 defeating Pepperdine 87-76 in the finals. That tournament marked the college debut for Daniels, who scored 16 vs. Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in round one, four vs. Virginia Tech in round two and did not score vs. The Waves in the final.

The Tigers will take a break for Christmas before returning to action on Monday, Dec. 30th vs. Southern Mississippi.

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