The Tulane Green Wave take to the hardwood for the final time at Fogelman Arena this season as the Houston Cougars come to town Wednesday for a Conference USA matchup.
Tulane has dropped 12 straight league games since beginning its C-USA schedule at 2-0 and is coming off Saturday's 66-59 loss at Tulsa. The Green Wave rallied from down 13 in the second half to make it a four-point game with 48 seconds to play but ultimately fell short despite holding the Golden Hurricane without a field goal for the final 4:22. Tulane shot just 33.3 percent from the floor over the final period and 40.0 percent for the game. Spoiled was a fine 27-point, 10-rebound night by sophomore Kendall Timmons. Jordan Callahan had 15 points and Johnny Mayhane added 13 points.
Houston was overwhelmed early and never recovered in dropping a 68-55 decision to conference-leading UAB Saturday. The Blazers found themselves trailing in the opening minutes before ripping off a demoralizing 23-4 run. The Cougars got back to within 14 at the break only to have UAB take a firm grasp of the game for good with a 13-2 spurt to open the second half. Maurice McNeil paced the losing effort with 14 points while Kendrick Washington added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Zamal Nixon ended with 11 points and a team-high five assists for the hosting Cougars, who lost their fourth game in a row and ninth in 10 games overall.
Houston defeated Tulane by a 79-68 score at home on February 12 and holds a 13-12 edge in the all-time set. The Green Wave own a 7-4 mark in games staged at Fogelman Arena and took the lone meeting last year in New Orleans, 79-76.
The Cougars have a host of steady contributors on offense and muster 68.1 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting from the field. McNeil leads the way at 13.1 points per game and a team-leading 7.6 rebounds while Adam Brown stands a close second with a 13.0-point average. Alandise Harris contributes averages of 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, Nixon also adds 9.3 points per game and Washington supplies 8.9 points and 5.2 boards to a well-rounded attack. Darian Thibodeaux leads the club in three-pointers with 51 on 42.1 percent shooting and averages 8.2 ppg. Opponents average 68.3 points on 41.9 percent shooting from the floor and Houston is narrowly edged by the competition in rebounding, trailing by 1.7 per game (35.7-34.0).
The Green Wave's offense is generally pretty effective despite their monumental struggle to find the win column since early January. Timmons' 16.9 points per game and 8.7 rebounds lead the team in both categories while Callahan is second on the club with 13.8 points and tops the roster with 55 three-pointers on 37.2 percent shooting. Kris Richard posts a solid 11.4 points and 6.0 boards per contest but was held scoreless (0-for-7) in 37 minutes against Tulsa. He did add eight rebounds and is second to Callahan with 54 three-pointers on 34.0 percent shooting. Aaron Holmes led the team with a 54.4 shooting percentage overall and added 8.9 points per game before being shelved by knee surgery in early February. Overall, Tulane makes good on 43.1 percent of its shots and averages 69.2 points. The defense is able to limit opponents to 65.5 points on 44.9 percent shooting. The Green Wave find themselves on the wrong side of a 33.3-32.5 rebounding differential.
Wednesday's matchup serves mostly as a sense of pride for both teams as Tulane attempts to avert a last-place finish in C-USA and Houston (4-10) tries to keep from slipping down into the league basement. Tulane gave Tulsa a good run for its money the last time out and could take the momentum into its final appearance at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulane 65, Houston 61