Jan. 4, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - Tulane's men's basketball team fell behind early and could never catch up to UCF Wednesday night in the Conference USA opener, falling 60-53, at UCF Arena.
The Green Wave (12-3, 0-1 C-USA) trailed by nine in the first nine minutes of the game and never got closer than six the rest of the way. The Knights (11-3, 1-0 C-USA) took the lead for good less than two minutes in and led by as many as 17, including a 29-21 lead at the break.
"We did not play as well as we needed to, especially early, and UCF did a number on us on the boards," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "The first half we did not do the job we needed to boxing out and we need to make sure that doesn't happen again. We've been pretty good on the boards, but tonight we didn't match their effort."
Jordan Callahan led Tulane with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal, while Kendall Timmons missed his second straight double double with 12 points and nine rebounds, and Ricky Tarrant added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Tulane led 4-3 after a dunk by Timmons with 18:48 left in the opening half, but Marcus Jordan, who led UCF with a game-high 19 points, knocked down a jumper 20 seconds later that gave the Knights the lead for good. The Green Wave was held scoreless for over a four minute stretch in the first half and UCF used that time to build a 27-13 lead, the largest of the half.
Tulane scored first to open the second half the cut the deficit to six on a Callahan lay-up, but a 3-pointer by A.J. Rompza for UCF ignited a 10-2 run for the Knights who pulled away to a 17 point lead, 44-27, with 12:49 left. The Green Wave did fight back and used a 16-7 run to cut the UCF lead back down to eight, 54-46, with 3:40 remaining, before Jordan hit a jumper and a pair of free throws to all but seal the victory.
"The second half was a tale of not making shots and finishing plays," Conroy added. "The first half was not satisfactory in the way we need to execute and move the ball."
Josh Davis added eight points and five boards for Tulane, who hit just 23 of 48 shots from the floor in the game, including four of 10 for 3-point range. The Green Wave struggled from long range early as well, missing the first nine attempts before Callahan knocked one down eight minutes into the second half.
UCF did shoot well either, hitting 23 of 58 shots from the floor as well, but the Knights won the rebound battle, 43-32, including grabbing 15 offensive boards and turning that into 14 points.
Tulane's defense forced 12 turnovers and collected seven steals that resulted in 11 points.
The Green Wave, who has played the last three games on the road, return to Fogelman Arena Saturday when they host Southern Miss at 3 p.m. CT.
- Jordan Callahan scored in double figures for the ninth game this season and the 39th game of his career with his 18 points tonight.
- Kendall Timmons scored in double figures for the 11th game this season and the 53rd game of his career with his 12 points tonight.
- Ricky Tarrant recorded his 10th double figure scoring game of this season with his 12 points tonight.
- Tulane falls to 3-14 in Conference USA opening games.