Comeback Kids Fall Short in Loss to UAB

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Senior Ben Cherry has now made 11 straight 3-pointers.
Senior Ben Cherry has now made 11 straight 3-pointers.

Feb. 27, 2013

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NEW ORLEANS - The 2012-13 version of the Tulane men's basketball program can be known as the Comeback Kids. For the fourth game in the last five, the Green Wave overcame a double digit deficit to take the lead, but on Wednesday night visiting UAB didn't fold and held on for a 76-71 victory at Devlin Fieldhouse.

Tulane (18-10, 6-7 C-USA) trailed UAB (14-14, 6-7 C-USA) by 16, 50-34 with 13:48 remaining in the game before mounting a 26-6 run that included a 10-0 spurt to take a 60-56 lead with 5:30 left.

Ben Cherry, who has now hit 11 straight 3-pointers, started the comeback run with one of his four threes of the game. Jordan Callahan knocked down three straight long range shots as well and Jay Hook drained two more 3-pointers that keyed the comeback.

Unfortunately after taking the lead, Tulane went cold for the next few minutes of the game that allowed the Blazers to rattle off a 10-2 to retake a six-point lead, 68-62, with just under two minutes to play.

Tulane made one more comeback effort with less than a minute left with 3-pointers by Cherry and Ricky Tarrant, but UAB's Preston Purifoy drained all six of his free throw attempts in the final 0:44 to secure the victory.

"Our guys gave great effort tonight, especially in the second half," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "But, for whatever reason, we were not executing at a high level especially in the first half and in the half-court game the whole night. In the full court game, both defensively and offensively, we were almost spectacular with 15 assists and six turnovers and forcing them into 18 turnovers."

Tarrant led Tulane with 25 points and six assists, while Cherry finished with 12 points. Callahan added nine and Kendall Timmons chipped in seven. Josh Davis collected 13 rebounds in the loss for the Green Wave.

Rod Rucker led UAB with 26 points, while Jordan Swing missed a triple double by one assist by collecting 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

"Credit UAB tonight. They hit some really big shots once we took that lead," Conroy said. "Jordan Swing and Rod Rucker were tremendous tonight and combined for almost 50 points and hit some daggers late. We game planned for them and we knew how good they were and they carried their team tonight."

The first half saw a pair of lead changes as UAB scored the first four points of the game before Tulane used a 7-0 run to take an 11-6 lead with 12:31 left in the opening period. The Blazers retook the lead with 7:38 left and went on to lead, 34-26, at the break.

Tulane forced 18 UAB turnovers in the game and converted those into 36 points, but when the Blazers took shots, they made 58.5 percent of them, including 66.7 percent in the second half.

The Green Wave hit just 33.8 percent from the floor, but hit 10 of 27 3-pointers, including eight of 16 in the second half. Tulane also committed just six turnovers in the game.

UAB's win moved both Tulane and Blazers into a three-way tie for sixth-place in the conference standings with Tulsa. The Green Wave travels to Tulsa on Saturday for a 3 p.m. CT tip against the Hurricane.

- Sophomore guard Ricky Tarrant reached double figures in tonight's game with his 25. He now has scored in double figures in 23 games this season and in 47 games in his career. Tarrant's 25 point total also gives him 20-plus points for the ninth game this season and 18th game of his career.
- Senior guard Jordan Callahan's third 3-pointer of the game was his 200th career long-range make of his career.
- Davis pulled down 13 rebounds tonight, marking his 16th double digit rebound game of the season and 32nd of his career.
- Senior guard Ben Cherry reached double figures in tonight's game with his 12. He has now scored in double figures for the second time this season and the fourth time of his career.
- Cherry connected on all four of his 3-pointers in tonight's game extending his consecutive made 3-pointers streak to 11 straight. The last time Cherry missed a 3-pointer was on Feb. 9 at Houston.