Feb. 11, 2009
NEW ORLEANS -- Tulane junior Kevin Sims led four Green Wave players into double figures with 18 points, while senior Robinson Louisme chalked up a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, and TU snapped a three-game skid with a 73-64 victory over East Carolina in Conference USA play at Fogelman Arena.
Tulane (10-13, 4-6 C-USA) received a dominating first half from Louisme, who notched his double-double during the first 20 minutes alone with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while senior Asim McQueen scored nine points in the opening half and his jumper with 4:53 remaining in the opening period sparked a game-changing, 16-3 run that helped the Wave take the lead for good.
As good as Louisme and McQueen were in the first half, Tulane's guard duo of Sims and sophomore Kris Richard also came up big in the second period, combining for 23 points. The Green Wave's defense also played a key role by holding East Carolina (12-11, 3-6 C-USA) to just five total three-point field goals, including just two for the first 38 minutes. The Pirates, who entered the game averaging nine treys per game, nailed three three-pointers in the final 1:29 and finished with five.
After a solid start, Louisme was saddled with three fouls and spend much of the second half in a spectator role on the bench, but Sims and Richard led the charge in Lousime's absence the second half. Sims accounted for 13 points, while Richard chipped in 10 points during second half action.
Tulane held a double digit lead for much of the second half, including its largest lead of 16 points, which came on a Sims lay-up at the 11:25 mark. The Pirates outscored the Green Wave, 43-40, in the second half, but could never get any closer than eight points. ECU's Chad Wynn knocked down a pair of free throws with 9:32 remaining in the game to pull the visitors to within eight points for the final time. But Tulane reeled off five straight points to climb back in double figures and detour any kind of comeback attempt.
The next time East Carolina pulled to within single digits was nine points in the final minutes, but the outcome had already been decided.
"This was a big victory for us tonight after losing three in a row," Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson said. "We needed to play well and get a good win tonight, and we beat a team that was playing some of its best basketball. I thought we got back to what makes us good, which is our half court defense, and we were able to take away their three-point shooting. Up until a minute to go in the game, we held them to three three-point field goals. That was one of the biggest keys, as well as rebounding the basketball, and I thought for the most part our guys did a good job with that. But my hats off to Robby (Robinson) Louisme, who got us started in the first half, and I thought his determination and his double-double in the first half was the different for our program tonight."
Along with Sims, Richard finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, a game-high seven assists and Conference USA's top steals leader during league play accounted for two thefts, while McQueen posted 13 points.
Tulane scored 25 field goals off 19 assists and shot 47.2 percent for the game. East Carolina managed just a 37 percent effort from the field, but did out-rebound the Wave, 32-31.
ECU's Brock Young led all scorers with 21 points, while Chris Turned added 11 points off the bench.
Despite Louisme and Richard's performances, Tulane and East Carolina were locked in a low scoring affair for the majority of the first half. The game was tied twice, featured five lead changes and the Green Wave trailed 18-17 with 5:36 remaining before halftime.
However, the Wave held ECU to one field goal during its deciding run, and took its largest lead of the half of 12 points when freshman Trent Rogers was fouled on a made lay-up and he connected on the free throw for the conventional three-point play to extend the Green Wave's lead to 33-21 at the break.