Jan. 3, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -- Tulane junior Asim McQueen scored 16 points and junior Kevin Sims added 14 points, but Auburn used a 17-7 first half run to seize control of the game and held off the Green Wave, 78-53, in front of 4,970 at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
Tulane (6-7) got off to a fast start in the opening minutes of each period, but poor free throw and field goal shooting, combined with timely Auburn runs, hampered the Green Wave's effort.
TU trailed by 13 points at halftime, but used a 14-8 run in the first 4:36 of the second half to close the gap to five points. A Robinson Louisme dunk off a McQueen assist at 15:24 made the score 48-43. However, Auburn (10-4) scored nine straight points behind a pair of three-pointers from DeWayne Reed, who led all scorers with 20 points, and hit four treys.
McQueen halted the run by hitting one of two free throw attempts and Sims followed with a three-pointer to bring Tulane back to within 10 points at the midway point in the period, but Reed broke free for a lay-up and the Wave was never able to cut the deficit to single digits.
"I couldn't more proud of our team," Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson said. "We battled and gave ourselves a chance to win the game but it just wasn't our night from an offensive standpoint. We couldn't make free throws and shots from the field when we needed to. Whenever you're on the road and playing a good team like Auburn, which has won seven out of their last eight games, and is very quick and athletic with great team speed, you have to play well.
"Our guys played hard and rebounded well. I thought Robby (Robinson) played an unbelievable game with 13 rebounds. We just lost to a better team tonight on their home floor."
Louisme added a game- and career-high 13 rebounds, but the Tigers won the battle on the boards, 40-36. The Green Wave shot 37.3 percent for the game and allowed Auburn to shoot at a 46.4 percent clip.
Along with Reed, Korvotney Barber chipped in a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Rasheem Barrett contributed 11 points. The Tigers came up with 12 steals on TU's 17 turnovers and finished 20-of-28 from the free-throw line, while Tulane struggled from the foul line with a 10-of-22 effort. Tulane got off to one of its best starts of the season, storming out of the gates with four straight field goals, and Sims' three-pointer gave the Wave a quick 10-0 run. TU's defense was also stellar in the opening minutes, holding Auburn to without a basket and scoreless for the first 3:05.
However, as the game looked to be in the Green Wave's favor early on, Tulane's fortune turned south. Two quick whistles on Sims forced the team's leader in both scoring and assists to the bench for a majority of the opening period. Meanwhile, the Tigers rallied and used its 17-7 run to tie the game on a three-point play from Korvotney Barber at 10:18.
With Sims on the bench, the Green Wave offense struggled to score points, and managed just two field goals, both coming from Louisme, during the final 3:53. Auburn gained its first lead on a steal and ensuing dunk by Tay Waller at 7:17. The Tigers continued to roll and built a 13-point lead, its largest of the opening period on two occasions, and led 40-27 at intermission.