Hook's Late Shots Lift Men's Basketball Over ECU

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

Jan. 23, 2014

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Jay Hook sank three three-pointers in the final 2:30 minutes of the game and the Tulane men's basketball team held East Carolina to a season-low point total in a 59-54 Conference USA victory on Thursday night at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum.

The Green Wave (11-9, 3-2 C-USA) trailed the Pirates (11-8, 0-4 (C-USA), 49-48, with 2:43 remaining when Hook drained his first of three consecutive long range shots. His first vaulted Tulane back into the lead for good, while his second gave the Green Wave a 54-49 lead with 1:36 left and his final fell as the shot clock expired to make the score 57-51 with 0:22 remaining.

ECU's Akeem Richmond, the nation's leading three-point shooter, then hit just his third of the game that cut the deficit in half, 57-54, but Jonathan Stark and Tre Drye each connected on a free throw in the final 10 seconds to secure the Green Wave's second straight conference win.

"I'm proud of my guys," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "I see them growing up all the time and obviously Jay Hook hit those big shots at the end. He's a guy that didn't get much time a year ago, but he's really risen up.

"I also credit East Carolina. They made things extremely hard for us. They kept us out of rhythm offensively several times."

The game saw 14 lead changes and four ties. Tulane held a 10-point lead in the first half, 19-9, with 8:58 remaining, but ECU rattled off a 16-5 run to take a lead. The Pirates then led 32-28 at the break.

ECU opened the second half by scoring the first three points to take their largest lead, 35-28, but Tulane didn't crumble and eventually retook the lead, 38-37, with 11:14 left. The game had six lead changes after that point, including the final one when Hook hit his first three.

Hook finished with a game-high 17 points, while Stark added 13 points and dished out six assists. Drye ended with seven points and a game-high eight rebounds. Louis Dabney and Cameron Reynolds also each chipped in seven points. Reynolds pulled down seven boards as well.

Richmond and Caleb White both had 14 points to lead the Pirates.

Tulane's defense held ECU to just 36.0 percent shooting from the floor, including just four-of-20 from three-point range, and forced 14 turnovers that resulted in 19 points. The Pirates were able to stay in the game by hitting 14-of-17 free throws and pulling down 13 offensive rebounds that were converted into 11 points.

The Green Wave shot 42.9 percent from the floor and hit five-of-13 three-pointers. Tulane also grabbed 13 offensive boards that turned into 10 points.

The win for Tulane snapped a five-game losing streak to ECU and earned the first win in Greenville since 2008.

The Green Wave continues the east coast conference road trip at Old Dominion on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.

- With four blocked shots in tonight's game, Kevin Thomas has now recorded 26 blocks in the last seven games, collecting at least three in each of the last seven outings.
- Jonathan Stark scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 13 points, marking the freshman's 17th double figure scoring game of the season.
- Jay Hook scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 17 points. It is his 13th double digit scoring game of the season and the 14th of his career.
- Tulane's win snapped a five-game losing streak to East Carolina and improved the series record to 11-7.