Sophomore Kris Richard scored a career-high 23 points in Tulane's 73-59 victory at Southern Miss on Tuesday night.
Feb. 24, 2009
Hattiesburg, Miss. - Sophomore Kris Richard led all scorers with a career-high 23 points, while senior Robinson Louisme added 12 points and a career-best 16 rebounds and the Green Wave ignited for 53 second-half points to post a 73-59 come-from-behind victory in front of 3,232 at Reed Green Coliseum.
Tulane (12-15, 6-8 C-USA) trailed by eight points at the break, but opened the second half with an 11-1 run to take a two-point, 31-29, lead. Richard and senior Daniel Puckett then combined for three straight three-pointers to help the Wave weather a brief 6-0 spurt by the Golden Eagles. The teams traded baskets and points for the next six minutes before Puckett, who finished with 12 points, hit a pair of free throws to give the Green Wave a 48-47 advantage.
USM's R.L. Horton regained the lead for the home team with a jumper, but his basket proved to be his team's final points for the next three minutes. Tulane took advantage of the drought and used a 10-2 run to take control of the game. Puckett was instrumental during the game-changing moment by hitting a pair of charity shots, a three-pointer and his lay-up at the 4:38 mark gave Tulane a 58-51 lead.
Southern Miss' Jeremy Wise snapped the run with his basket that drew his team to within five points. But heading into the final minutes, the Golden Eagles had trouble putting the ball in the basket. Southern Miss missed four out of their last five attempts, while the Green Wave looked like the home team by outscoring USM 15-6 following Wise's jumper en route to its first win in Hattiesburg since the 2006-07 campaign.
"Í thought we came out of the gates very strong tonight," Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson said. "The guys came out and played up-tempo basketball and we got the lead, but then we went away from what we were doing in the last 10 minutes of the first half, which was being aggressive and scoring in transition.
"In the second half, we just stepped up and took the challenge to make shots and make plays from the perimeter. We were 0-for-7 from behind the three-point line in the first half and we went 5-of-6 in the second half. We knew what we had to do and we came out and made the plays and the shots. The two things that were spectacular for us was our half-court defense after we went to a 2-3 zone that really surprised them a little bit, and I thought our senior leadership of Robbie (Robinson) Louisme's career high 16 rebounds and Daniel Puckett's three to four plays. Those guys willed us to win tonight on the road, which was fantastic."
Junior Asim McQueen was the fourth Green Wave player to finish in double figures with 11 points, while classmate Kevin Sims just missed double digits with nine points and dished out a game-best six assists that moved him into eighth-place on the school's career assists list. Tulane out-rebounded Southern Miss (14-13, 4-9 C-USA), 36-31, and shot 51 percent for the game, including a balmy 65.4 percent in the second half.
The Tulane defense put the clamps on the Golden Eagles in the second half by limited them to a 32.4 percent effort from the field in the final period and a 37.9 percent performance for the game. Southern Miss played just six players and was led by Wise, who finished with 16 points. Horton added 14 points, while Craig Craft chipped in 10 points. Courtney Beasley grabbed 13 rebounds in the loss.
Tulane stormed out of the gates during the opening minutes of the first half with Richard scoring the first four points of the game and 10 of the team's 20 first half points. The Green Wave led for the majority of the first 11 minutes before Southern Miss overtook the Wave on a jumper by Horton, who also notched 10 points in the opening period. Following a free throw from Beasley, Richard tied the game at 14 apiece at the 7:49 minute mark.
However, Horton ignited a 7-0 run with five points and helped the Golden Eagles run out to a seven-point, 21-14 lead. Tulane the responded with six straight points with jumpers from sophomore David Booker and Louisme, and Richard's steal and lay-up on a break brought the Wave to within a single point, 21-20, at the four-minute mark.
But Southern Miss held TU scoreless following Richard's lay-up and Horton drilled a three-pointer with time winding down to hand the home team a 28-20 advantage at intermission.