March 7, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Tulane junior guard Kevin Sims scored a team-best 14 points but the Green Wave scored just two points during the final eight minutes and No. 5/3 Memphis took advantage of TU's offensive woes with a 30-7 run en route to a 74-47 victory in the season finale for both teams in front of 18,466 at the FedExForum.
For 30 minutes, Tulane (13-16, 7-9 C-USA) was within three points of one of the nation's elite squads. The Green Wave trailed by nine points at intermission, but opened the second period with a 7-0 run behind four points from junior Asim McQueen. McQueen connected on 1-of-2 free throw attempts and brought the Wave to within two points, 35-33, at the 15:57 mark.
Over the next six minutes, Memphis did its best to shake the pesky Green Wave, but Tulane continued to answer the Tigers. The home team built several six-point leads only to see TU make a play on the ensuing possession. UM's Robert Sallie nailed a three-pointer to give his team a 44-38 advantage with 10:45 remaining in the contest, but Sims matched the trey with one of his own on TU's next possession and the Wave continued to trail by just three points.
The game then went back-and-forth with Antonio Anderson getting fouled on a lay-up, but his attempt fell through and he knocked down the free throw for the conventional three-point play to extend the Memphis lead back to six points. Senior Robinson Louisme was fouled on the break by UM's Pierre Henderson-Niles and he hit both charity shots to pull the Wave to within four points with 9:21 remaining.
But the Memphis offense came alive when the Wave's attack continued to misfire. Robert Dozier hit a three-pointer, while Anderson also drained a trey and a free throw during a 7-0 run that put the Tigers up by 11 points, 54-43, with 8:21 remaining. McQueen then hit a pair of free throws that brought the Wave back to within single digits, but those points proved to be the Wave's last for the next 7:45. In the meantime, Memphis took advantage of TU's shooting woes with a 16-0 run. By the time Louisme knocked down a pair of free throws with 2:15 remaining, the Tigers led by 25 points.
"I thought our players did what we needed to do for the most part, which was to give us a chance to win, and for 30 minutes we played great Tulane basketball," TU head coach Dave Dickerson said. "But Memphis' athleticism and their ability to make plays when they had to proved to be the difference. They made plays and we didn't down the stretch. I believe our effort and determination was as good today as it has been all year. Our next step is to come back to Memphis and win the Conference USA Tournament."
Sims was the only Green Wave to finish in double figures but eight of the 10 Tulane players that saw action reached the scoring column. Richard finished with two steals and moved into 10th place on the school's single season steals list.
Memphis' Tyreke Evans, Dozier and Shawn Taggard each registered double-doubles, including Evans with a game-high 17 points and he also added 10 boards. Dozier finished with 16 points and a game-best 12 rebounds, while Taggard scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The trio helped the Tigers out-rebound the Wave, 47-26.
Memphis wasted little time building an early lead during the opening minutes of the game with a 10-2 run over the first 5:39. Tulane roared back behind a Sims three-pointer and a lay-up by junior Eric Vianney to pull to within three points. A gaff by Memphis following its own time-out allowed the Wave to draw to within two points after the Tigers were assessed with a technical foul for having six players on the court. Sims knocked down 1-of-2 two free throws and trimmed the deficit to 10-8.
The teams traded baskets before Memphis responded with a 9-2 spurt to build a 25-14 lead. The Wave fought back to single digits on a Sims bucket at 7:45, and trailed by just seven points on a jumper by sophomore Johnny Mayhane. But Evans and Dozier combined for five straight points to give the home team, a 30-18 lead, its largest of the half, at 5:01.
Richard brought TU to within eight points, 34-26, on a lay-up with just under a minute remaining, and Evans hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the Tigers a 35-26 lead at the break.