Jan. 8, 2002
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Waitari Marsh swished a baseline three-pointer at the buzzer, but it was ruled too late and Tulane fell, 69-66, to the University of Houston in Conference USA men's basketball action on Tuesday evening at Fogelman Arena.
Tulane (9-4, 1-1 C-USA) trailed by three with 12.4 seconds to go. Brandon Spann went up with a shot from three, but was blanketed by the Houston defense and dropped a pass to Wayne Tinsley, who quickly rotated the ball to an open Marsh in the corner. Marsh let fly as the buzzer sounded and the Fogelman crowd erupted as it found the bottom of the net. However, the referee ruled no basket as it was after the buzzer.
"You can't decide to play at the 10-minute mark of the second half," Tulane head coach Shawn Finney said. "We don't want to put ourselves in that position to need a buzzer-beater at home to tie the game. We did not play with much emotion tonight, that is the most disappointing part. When you don't play with emotion, you have to be vastly more talented to get a win."
Marsh had knotted the game at 64 with 52.5 seconds remaining on a deep three-pointer from the top of the key, however, Houston (7-6, 1-1) worked the ball to Dominic Smith who fired a long three-pointer through the defense. However, Smith was fouled on the shot. Smith, who led the league in free-throw shooting last season, connected on all three shots to make it 67-64 with 27.3 remaining.
A Marsh layup with 13.3 to go cut the deficit to one at 67-66. The Wave fouled Smith immediately on the in-bounds play and once again Smith buried both shots. For the night, Smith tallied 17 points.
"I have to give our guys a lot of credit for hanging in there after some tough losses," Houston coach Ray McCollum said. "Dominic is a guy we want to have the ball at the end of the game. He had a tough time at the line in St. Louis, but he wants to be there. We know he is going to come through 90 percent of the time."
Tulane was led by junior Nick Sinville, who scored 18 points and added seven rebounds. Marsh added 15 points, 13 of those in the second half, while Spann connected for 12 points.
In addition to Smith, Houston received 11 points each from George Williams and Louis Truscott. Truscott added a game-high 10 rebounds for a double-double.
The Wave trailed 54-43 with 10:24 to go, but Tinsley keyed a ferocious comeback. The sophomore nailed a baseline three-pointer, then stole the ball at midcourt and drove to the hoop for a dunk. A layup by Tinsley with 7:17 to go made it 54-50.
The teams traded hoops until Houston edged ahead by six at 60-54 with 4:43 to go, but a Marsh three-pointer and a driving layup made it 60-59 with 3:43 remaining. Smith hit a pair of foul shots for Houston, but Spann followed with a pair of his own to make it 62-61 with 1:59 to go. However, Kevin Gaines drove hard to the hoop and scored to set up the final 1:26 of action.
Tulane returns to action on Saturday hosting Memphis at 2 p.m. at Fogelman Arena. The Cougars host No. 10 Cincinnati at Hofheinz Pavilion at 3 p.m. on Saturday.