Jan. 26, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Junior Josh Davis scored a team-high 22 points and sophomore Rickey Tarrant and senior Jordan Callahan chipped in 16 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Green Wave past a gritty Rice squad, 73-66, in front of 1,698 at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Tulane improves to 14-6 overall and 2-3 in Conference USA play, while Rice drops to 4-15 overall and 0-5 in league play. The Green Wave also upped its home record this season to 12-1.
TU and Rice were tied at intermission and the Owls scored the first three points of the second half to take a brief lead. However, the visitor's advantage was short lived as Timmons connected on a pair of free throws and Callahan drained a three-pointer to give Tulane the lead for good.
The Green Wave then used an 18-4 run to take an 11-point lead following a pair of free throws from freshman Louis Dabney, but the feisty Owls weren't about to go away that easy. Rice trimmed the Tulane to as many as six points on eight occasions, but the Wave never surrendered its hard fought lead.
The keys for Tulane were defense and the charity stripe. The Green Wave defenders allowed Rice just one offensive rebound on the day and gave up just one three-pointer in the second half after surrendering six in the first period. TU also walked to the free-throw line 30 times in the second half and knocked down 21 of those attempts.
Rice shot 50 percent from behind the three-point line in the first half, but was just 1-of-12 in the second half. Tulane outrebounded the Owls, 38-21, and shot 18 more free throws than the Owls.
"I credit Rice for coming out firing and knocking down six of their 12 three-pointers in the first half," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "They average 10 (three-pointers) a game and really put it on us in the first half. But I really credit our guys for responding the way they did in the second half. I challenged them at halftime to get to the free-throw line and defend the three-point line much better than we did in the first half. In the second half, Rice goes 1-for-12 from behind the arc and we got to the line 30 times. I thought our guys did a great job of executing what we asked."
For Rice, Seth Gearhart led four Owls into double figures with a game-high 23 points, followed by 12 points from Julian DeBose, 11 points from Max Guercy and 10 points from Tamir Jackson.
Rice controlled much of the first half with their sharp shooting from behind the three-point line and most of its offensive production came from Gearhart, who scored 13 points. The two teams traded the lead six times and the contest was tied on five occasions in the opening stanza. The Owls led for the majority of the first 10 minutes but Tulane was able to claw back and regain the advantage near the midway point.
But Rice retook the lead and led by four points heading into the final minute. However, Davis broke free for a lay-up with 50-seconds remaining and Timmons rebounded a missed jumper from Callahan and ended the first half with a thunderous dunk to tie the game.
Tulane remains at home and returns to action against UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. inside the Devlin Fieldhouse.