Jan. 29, 2002
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Senior forward Linton Johnson led four Green Wave players in double digits with 14 points and tied for the team lead with eight rebounds, but it was not enough as the Tulane University basketball team dropped a hard-fought Conference USA contest to visiting Marquette, 68-66, Tuesday night in Fogelman Arena.
The Green Wave scored points in bunches, but it was the scoring droughts that cost Tulane on the night as the home team failed to score during a 6:30 period in the first half and tallied just two points in a five-minute span in the second stanza. With the loss, Tulane falls to 11-8 overall and 3-5 in C-USA play. Marquette, meanwhile, improves to 18-3 and 7-1 in league action.
"Marquette is definitely an excellent basketball team with a lot of weapons," head coach Shawn Finney said. "It says a lot of our team to play with them the whole game. We need to play with this level of intensity every night. We had a couple of costly turnovers with less than two minutes or it could have been a different story. Any time you have turnovers down the stretch, it hurts. That's when you have to limit your mistakes."
It was a back and forth battle all night long as the contest featured six ties and 13 lead changes. The Green Wave led for much of the first half, but fell behind 31-30 with less than a minute to go in the stanza. But a Brandon Brown jumper with less than a second to go gave Tulane some momentum going into the break as the Green Wave took a 32-31 advantage into the locker room.
The lead swapped hands four times in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and Marquette led by as many as six with 7:24 left to play. But Tulane cut the lead to two on a pair of free throws by Spann and a monstrous dunk by Johnson. The lead went back to four in favor of the Golden Eagles on a pair of occasions, but Tulane would tie things up at 56-56 on a Johnson put-back with 2:54 to go.
"I'm pleased," Finney said. "We talked about matching this intensity every game. Against Memphis, we had this kind of effort and against TCU in the first half. You look at our losses and we had a lack of effort. We need to match this intensity on Saturday. We also have got to learn how to execute in the last two minutes. I think our guys are starting to understand that."
Junior forwards Brandon Brown and Nick Sinville each scored 13 points for the Green Wave, and Spann rounded out double-digit scorers with 10. Sinville shared team-high rebounding honors with Johnson while Brown finished with seven.
Marquette's Dwyane Wade led all players with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field a perfect 6-of-6 showing from the free throw line. Henry was next with 17 points.
The Green Wave returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 2 when they play host to C-USA foe Southern Miss at 2 p.m. in Fogelman Arena.