Brandon Brown scored a career-high 29 points on Saturday.
Jan. 12, 2002
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Junior Brandon Brown (Houma, La.) scored a career-high 29 points on 13-of-18 shooting, but it was not enough for Tulane University as it fell to the University of Memphis, 78-70, in Conference USA men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Fogelman Arena.
The game was the first Fogelman sell-out since March 1, 1997 against Louisville.
Brown was a force inside for Tulane (9-5, 1-2 Conference USA), but it was not enough to offset the inside play of Memphis' big men, especially senior Kelly Wise, who finished with 16 points on 9-of-10 shooting. He also added 10 rebounds as he became Conference USA's all-time leader in double-doubles. Seven-footer Earl Barron added 17 points. Memphis improves to 13-4 and 3-0 in league play.
"Their inside play was the big difference in the game," Tulane head coach Shawn Finney said. "A guy like Kelly Wise goes 8-for-10 and we do not have anyone to match up. We had no answer for him.
"Brandon Brown had a monster game," Finney continued. "He's coming into his own. I was glad to see him not play timid against bigger guys. Tonight he really attacked the rim aggressively."
Wise scored inside with 11:49 to go to give the Tigers a 53-45 edge with 11:49 remaining. However, a Linton Johnson (eight points, seven rebounds) jumper opened an 8-2 Wave run. Johnson followed with a big rebound dunk and then Brown matched a Barron basket with a dunk of his own to make it 55-51. After a miss by fabulous freshman Dejuan Wagner, Brown putback an offensive board and it was 55-53 with 9:17 to go.
However, Barron hit an open three from the top of the key, Chris Massie scored in the paint and Barron dunked on the break to push the margin back to nine at 62-53 with 5:57 to go. The Wave would get no closer than seven the rest of the way.
"Anytime we made a run they answered it," Finney said. "They got a layup, got a foul, made a stop, they made the big plays."
"We came out and played hard," Tulane's Brown said. "You have to credit Memphis. When we made a run, they buckled down and made a run back at us. They have been playing well all year."
Wagner, the consensus high school player of the year last year, was harassed throughout the game by Tulane's Wayne Tinsley. The rookie was held to 17 points, more than four below his average. He shot just 6-of-16 from the field and 3-of-8 from the line, while adding three assists and one rebound.
"Wayne is our best defender," Finney said. "Dejuan Wagner is one of the better players in the country. It says a lot about Wayne holding him to 6-of-16 shooting."
Tinsley scored just three points, but also added nine rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Memphis, the preseason pick to win Conference USA, swept the season series with the Wave last season, winning by margins of 22 and 27 points.
Tulane returns to action with a pair of road games next week. The team plays at Southern Mississippi on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and then next Saturday at Conference USA newcomer TCU. The next home game will be Wednesday, Jan. 23 against South Florida.