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Solid Defensive Effort Lifts Men's Basketball Over Rice

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM <b>Junior Jay Hook scored a game-high 17 points.</b>
TULANEGREENWAVE.COM
Junior Jay Hook scored a game-high 17 points.
TULANEGREENWAVE.COM

Jan. 18, 2014

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NEW ORLEANS - A solid defensive effort by the Tulane men's basketball team lifted the Green Wave over visiting Rice, 58-41, in a Conference USA game on Saturday night at Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse.

Tulane (10-9, 2-2 C-USA) held the Owls (5-12, 0-4 C-USA) to a season-low point total of 41, a season-low shooting percentage of 28.3 and a season-worst 16.7 percent from three-point range. The Green Wave defense also forced Rice into 16 turnovers and collected 10 steals.

"I'm proud of our guys for the way we bounced back again," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "I told our guys it in not how many times you get knocked down, it is about how you have to get up every single time otherwise you are not who you say you are."

The Green Wave, who have dropped both Thursday night conference games by an average of 27.0 points, bounced back again to win the Saturday night game for the second straight week by double digits.

In addition to the defensive effort, the Green Wave used solid outside shooting to earn the win. After missing all 14 three-point attempts in the loss to Louisiana Tech, Tulane dropped nine long range shots against Rice, including four from Jay Hook and two each from Payton Henson and Cameron Reynolds.

Hook led all scorers in the game with 17 points, while Louis Dabney added 12, including a three-pointer of his own. Henson and Reynolds each posted eight points off the bench.

It was Henson's first three-pointer that vaulted Tulane into the lead for good with 8:05 remaining in the first half. The Green Wave took a 13-12 advantage at that moment and never relinquished it.

Tulane closed the opening half by outscoring the Owls, 21-2, over the final 11:32, including scoring the final 10 points to take a 28-14 lead into the locker room.

Rice rattled off the first 11 points of the second half to cut the deficit to three, 28-25, with 17:18 left, but that would be as close as they would get as the Green Wave answered with an 11-0 run of their own to build the lead back to double digits. Three-pointers by Henson and Hook, along with lay-ups by Dabney and Hook sparked the run.

Tulane's largest lead of the game, 58-36, came after another basket by Dabney with 2:22 left.

"Tonight's effort was more because we played the game in a smarter way," Conroy added. "I was proud of the fact that we went inside throughout the night and that effort was really led by Jonathan Stark by the way he controlled the game."

Stark finished with a career-low two points, but dished out eight assists and had only one turnover in 35 minutes on the court.

Tulane shot 39.6 percent from the floor, but connected on nine-of-22 from three-point range. The Green Wave also grabbed 39 rebounds led by Tre Drye's 10 and Hook's seven.

The Green Wave hit the road for a pair of conference games on the east coast next week by visiting East Carolina on Thursday at 6 p.m. CT and Old Dominion on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.

Tickets for the 2013-14 Tulane men's basketball games are available for as low as $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children. For additional information, contact the Tulane Team Shop ticket office in person on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information is also available over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.

GAME NOTES
- With three blocked shots in tonight's game, Kevin Thomas has now recorded 22 blocks in the last six games, collecting at least three in each of the last six outings.
- Jay Hook scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 17 points. It is his 12th double digit scoring game of the season and the 13th of his career.
- Louis Dabney scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 12 points. It is his 16th double digit scoring game of the season and the 18th of his career.
- Tre Drye pulled down 10 Rebounds in tonight's game, marking the sixth game this season he has recorded double digits on the boards and the ninth time in his career.