March 6, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - The final home game for Tulane men's basketball seniors Max Keenan, Kevin Thomas and Tomas Bruha was spoiled by visiting Southern Miss, 68-51, on Thursday night in the regular season finale and the last Conference USA game for the Green Wave.
Bruha saved his best performance of the season for last as the Green Wave (16-15, 8-8 C-USA) center scored a season-high 12 points on six-of-eight shooting and held Southern Miss' (26-5, 13-3 C-USA) leading scorer Daveon Bordingham to zero points.
Southern Miss, who claimed a share of the conference regular season title, scored the first five points of the game and held the lead for all but the few moments Tulane was up, 9-7, seven minutes into the game. The Golden Eagles then built as much as a 16-point lead and took a 36-22 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Tulane was able to claw back midway through the second half and cut the deficit to nine on two occasions, including, 56-47, with 6:39 left after a three-point by Hook, but USM scored the next eight straight over a three minute span to break the game open again. The Golden Eagles' largest lead was 19 with just over two minutes remaining.
"First off congratulations to Southern Miss," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "They are obviously a really talented basketball team and they came in and played very hard and very well. Their energy on the defensive end in the first half was a difference and their ability to knock down threes late was what just broke our back."
USM connected on 11-of-20 three-pointers in the game, including five-of-10 in the second half, including two by Neil Watson during the run late in the game.
Tulane shot 42.9 percent from the floor in the game, but managed just four-of-16 three-pointers. USM finished at 49.1 percent from the floor and won the battle on the boards, 33-24.
Matt Bingaya and Aaron Brown each finished with 14 points for the Golden Eagles, while Watson added 12.
Tulane will be the No. 7 seed and have a first-round bye in next week's Conference USA Championships in El Paso, Texas, while USM finished in a four-way tie for the top spot in the league, but falls to the No. 4 seed due to tiebreakers.
The Green Wave will face the winner No. 10 seed North Texas vs. No. 15 seed Rice on Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT.
- Tonight's game marked the final game as a member of Conference USA for Tulane, one of the charter members of the league.
- Seniors Max Keenan (first start), Kevin Thomas (34th start) and Tomas Bruha (28th start) started tonight's game in their final contest at home.
- Bruha scored a season-high 12 points in tonight's game. He reached double figures for the first time this season and the third time of his career.
- Jonathan Stark scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 10 points, marking the freshman's 24th double figure scoring game of the season.
- Jay Hook scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 12 points. It is his 20th double digit scoring game of the season and the 21st of his career.
- Tre Drye pulled down 12 rebounds in tonight's game, marking the ninth game this season with double figures in rebounds and the 12th game of his career.