March 2, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - For the seventh straight season the Tulane men's basketball team earned a victory on senior night. This time the Green Wave sent seniors David Booker, Aaron Holmes, Johnny Mayhane and Kris Richard out with an 80-77 win over Houston in a Conference USA contest in Fogelman Arena on Wednesday night.
The win for the Green Wave (13-15, 3-12 C-USA) over the Cougars (12-16, 4-11 C-USA) snapped the 12-game losing streak as well.
"I'm really, really proud of these guys," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "I also want to say thank you to all the fans. Our fans have been great all year. They have stuck with us and have enjoyed the process of building this program."
It was the underclassmen that primarily led Tulane to the win as sophomore Jordan Callahan recorded his first career double double with 21 points and a career-best 12 assists, while fellow sophomore Kendall Timmons posted a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Kevin Thomas added a career-best 10 points on five of six shooting.
The senior class also contributed in their final game in Fogelman Arena. Booker scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds, Richard had seven points, eight rebounds and four assists, and Mayhane chipped in with eight points.
"I got on this team at halftime as good as I have all year," Conroy said. "I didn't think we were sharing the ball like we should and I told our guys if we would share the ball and quit putting the lid on ourselves we would score 50 in the second half. Sure enough we came out and got 51 in the second half with 12 assists. That was fun to watch. I credit our guys with coming in a just trying to improve."
Tulane overcame a 34-29 halftime deficit by outscoring Houston, 51-43, in the final 20 minutes, including using a 16-4 run midway through the half to hold a 67-56 lead with 5:94 remaining, the largest lead of the game.
The game saw nine ties and five lead changes and after the final tie, 51-51, with 9:39 remaining, Houston's Kendrick Washington hit one of two free throws to give the Cougars a one-point lead, their final of the game. It was at that point the Green Wave rattled off their 16-4 run to charge out to the lead.
A 3-pointer by Timmons sparked the run and gave Tulane a 54-52 lead with 8:58 left. Mayhane followed with a 3-pointer of his own just over a minute later and that was followed by a long range shot from Callahan 30 seconds later that gave the Green Wave a 62-54 lead. Callahan hit another 3-pointer a minute later that answered a lay-up by Houston's Maurice McNeil.
Houston did knock the lead down to four, 69-65, with 2:50 remaining after a 3-pointer by Zamal Nixon, but the Cougars would not get any closer until the final shot of the game banked off the glass for a 3-pointer to make the difference three points.
Tulane shot 43.9 percent from the floor, including hitting 51.6 percent in the second half. The Green Wave also dished out 19 assists and knocked down 15 of 21 free throws. Eight of which came off the hands of Callahan in the final minute of the game.
The Green Wave defense did allow Houston to hit 54.7 percent from the floor, but forced 23 turnovers and collected 10 steals. Tulane scored 27 points of the Cougars' miscues.
McNeil led Houston with 21 points, while Nixon finished with 20 and Kirk Van Slyke added 13 points off the bench.
Tulane will conclude the regular season on Saturday when they visit Memphis for a 3 p.m. CST tip off in the Fed Ex Forum.
- Seniors David Booker, Aaron Holmes, Johnny Mayhane and Kris Richard were honored prior to the game.
- Kendall Timmons scored in double figures in the 26th game of the season and 41st game in his career with his 25 points tonight. It was also his eighth 20-plus point game of the season and the ninth of his career.
- Freshman Kevin Thomas posted a career-high 10 points tonight. It marked his first double figure scoring game of his career.
- Jordan Callahan dished out a career-high 12 assists tonight. It marked his second career double digit assist game.
- Callahan also scored in double figures tonight for his first career double double with his 21 points and 12 assists. He reached double figures for the 25th time this season and the 29th time of his career. It was his fifth 20-plus point game of this season and the sixth of his career.
- Tulane snapped a 12-game losing streak with the victory.
- The Green Wave has now won on senior night for seven straight seasons.