Chris Moore defends Southern Mississippi's Craig Craft as he drives to the basket Saturday. (AP Photo/The Hattiesburg American, Joel Bonner)
Feb. 3, 2007
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - In the first return to his home state as a collegiate player, freshman Kevin Sims scored a career-high 23 points and senior Chris Moore notched his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the Green Wave escape Reed Green Coliseum with a 79-64 victory over Southern Miss.
Sims, native of Jackson, and Moore combined for 11 of 18 field goal attempts and helped the Green Wave torch the nets with a field goal shooting percentage of 57.5 percent. Defensively, Tulane (10-10, 3-5 C-USA) held Southern Miss (14-7, 4-4 C-USA) to just 35.6 percent from the field and handed the Golden Eagles their second loss at home this season and their worst home defeat of the year. USM's only previous home loss was to nationally-ranked Memphis, by three points. TU's defense also registered eight blocked shots, including a career-best six by junior Donnie Stith.
Sims also helped the Wave to a 73.7 percent shooting night from the free-throw line by connecting on 12 of 14 attempts. From the perimeter, Moore kept the Southern Miss defense honest by draining three treys, while Sims found the mark on his lone attempt.
Tulane led by 10 points at intermission, but USM cut the lead to seven points on two free throws by Courtney Beasley during the early minutes of the second half and eventually sliced the deficit to five points, 52-47, at the 11:34 minute mark.
However, the Wave answered behind a three-pointer by senior Andrew Garcia. Jeremy Wise followed with two free throws to bring the Golden Eagles back to within striking distance, but Sims was fouled and hit both free throws and sophomore Daniel Puckett followed suit with two free throws following a foul to extend TU's lead to 10 points. Despite leading 59-49, the Wave battled foul trouble as six players had already picked up at least three fouls each, but Southern Miss was unable to take advantage.
Moore put the game away with a three-pointer and Sims hit a jumper to give Tulane a 14-point lead with 6:39 remaining in the contest. The Golden Eagles were never a threat to slice the lead to single digits.
Junior David Gomez joined Sims and Moore as the third Green Wave player to reach double figures with 18 points. Most of Gomez's scoring was from the charity stripe where he converted 10 of 12 opportunities.
Wise led the Golden Eagles with 19 points, while Sai 'Quon Stone and Beasley added 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Tulane charged out of the gates in the first half, taking a commanding 8-2 lead, which was sparked by back-to-back jumpers by Moore. Moore continued to be the catalyst for the Green Wave and his six points during the first 11:51 enabled TU to jump out to an 18-9 advantage at the second media time-out.
Beasley brought Southern Miss to within three points, 24-21, by scoring eight of his 12 first-half points by the 7:41 mark. However, Gomez was fouled on two straight possessions and he hit all four free throws and sparked an 11-1 run. During the spurt, he also nailed a jumper and Sims broke loose for a reverse lay-up and then knocked down a three-pointer to push Tulane's led to 35-22.
Wise snapped the drought for the Golden Eagles when he took a pass from a teammate in the open court and finished the play off with a one-handed slam dunk. But the Wave answered once again when Sims banked a jumper from just inside the top of the key at the shot clock buzzer for a 39-27 advantage.
Tulane shot a blistering 68.4 percent from the field in the opening period, and led 41-31 at the break.