Jan. 19, 2002
FORT WORTH, Texas - Brandon Spann scored seven points in overtime to lift Tulane University to an 87-82 victory over TCU in Conference USA men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
The game was a perfect example of a tale of two halves. Tulane buried 69 percent of its shots in the first half on route to a 52-30 lead. However, TCU (10-9, 0-5 C-USA) came to life in the second half, roaring back behind a huge effort by Junior Blount.
Tulane, which has won all three of its conference road games, improves to 11-5 overall and 3-2 in C-USA play.
Blount scored 19 points in the second half and 23 in the game. The junior guard scored the Horned Frogs final eight points in regulation, erasing a 75-68 Green Wave advantage with 3:26 to go. His final shot, an off-balance duck-through toss in the lane, knotted the game for the first time at 76 with 15 seconds to go. A final shot in regulation by the Wave was off the mark, setting up the first overtime contest of the year for the Wave.
Blount opened the OT session with a pair of free throws, to give TCU its first lead of the game. However, both teams traded misses and Spann knocked down a baseline floater to tie the contest at 78 with 4:07 remaining. A steal and dunk by Wayne Tinsley and a Waitari Marsh steal followed by a Spann layup made it 82-78. Marsh would connect on a pair of free throws to increase the margin to six, but two Green Wave turnovers and a missed shot let the Frogs back. Corey Santee hit a pair of free throws and then drove to the hoop for two and it was 82-82 with one minute to go.
However, a miss by the Green Wave was rebounded by Brandon Brown and the Wave called timeout to settle things down with 21 seconds to go. On the ensuing play, Marsh drove hard down the lane and found Spann cutting to the hoop. Spann went up strong, going off the glass for the hoop while being fouled. His foul shot with 15 seconds to go wrapped up the victory for the Wave.
Brown posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, four of those boards coming in overtime. Marsh added 14 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Spann had 11 points, three boards and five assists. Freshman Ben Benfield scored a career-high 10 points, all in the first half.
"Brandon Brown stepped up big-time," Finney said. "He had a double-double and for him to get four rebounds in OT is huge.
"Ben Benfield has found his niche," Finney continued. "I think he gained some confidence when he hit that shot at Southern Miss [a half-time buzzer-beating 40-footer]. I think he quit looking for his offense and it found him."
Tulane led 63-43 with 13:59 to go in regulation after a pair of hoops inside from Brown. However, Blount scored five and Jamal Brown (12 points, 17 rebounds) added six to key a 19-2 TCU run, cutting the Wave lead to 65-62 with 7:14 remaining.
A pair of free throws each from Marsh and Spann held the run off for a bit, but Blount erupted in the final 3:26 of regulation to force the overtime stanza. The Wave was 1-for-4 from the line in the final 1:27.
The first half was all Green Wave as Tulane built the lead to as many as 26 at 42-16 with 5:13 to go. Brown notched 13 points in the opening half to lead 10 different players in the scoring column. While shooting 69 percent (20-of-29) itself, Tulane held TCU to just 34.3 percent (12-of-35) shooting. The score at the break was 52-30, with 17 Green Wave points coming off turnovers.
"We came out and shot the lights out," Finney said. "It was our best half of basketball this year, everything went well. But it was a much different second half. It is good for the team to see some adversity in what was a blowout in the first half, and then to still settle down and win."
Next up for the Green Wave is a home contest against South Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Fogelman Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.
Tickets for all Tulane home events are available by calling 504-861-WAVE, or by visiting the Green Wave box office at the Wilson Center.