Stark's 21 Leads Men's Basketball Past NT in C-USA Tournament

Freshman Jonathan Stark scored 21 on Wednesday
Freshman Jonathan Stark scored 21 on Wednesday

March 12, 2014

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EL PASO, Texas - Jonathan Stark's 21 points, including 16 in the second half, lifted the Tulane men's basketball team to a come-from-behind, 66-61, win over North Texas on Wednesday afternoon in the second round of the 2014 Conference USA Championships at UTEP's Don Haskins Center.

The Green Wave (17-15, 8-8 C-USA), the No. 7 seed, overcame a 13-point second-half lead by 10th-seeded North Texas (16-16, 6-10 C-USA) to earn the win and the right to advance to the quarterfinal round and face No. 2 seed Tulsa at 1 p.m. CT on Thursday.

"I couldn't be more proud of this group we have because they have been so resilient and today was no different," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "Our poise was fantastic today. Jonathan (Stark) created a lot of offense for us in the second half."

Stark hit six-of-11 field goals and knocked down four-of-six free throws in the second half to spark Tulane's comeback. The freshman also dished out seven assists in his 40 minute performance.

North Texas scored the first four points of the game and then built a double-digit lead, 15-4, in the first five minutes of the game to take control. Tulane was not able to get closer than eight the remainder of the half and trailed, 32-21, at the break.

The Mean Green then opened the second half and built the lead back to 13, 39-26, with 17:02 remaining and led by double digits until Tulane used a 6-0 run to get within six, 43-37, with just over 13 minutes left.

North Texas answered with a 5-0 run to retake an 11-point lead, but the Green Wave scored 11 of the next 13 points of the game to cut the difference to two, 50-48. Tulane then took its first lead of the game after Cameron Reynolds hit a three-pointer to tie the score and Kevin Thomas knocked down a free throw to put the Green Wave up, 52-51, with 6:36 left.

The lead changed hands two more times over the next few minutes before Tulane took the lead for good with a pair of free throws by Stark with 2:17 left that broke the fifth tie of the contest.

Tulane secured the victory with a pair of free throws by Louis Dabney and Tre Drye in the final seconds.

Jay Hook finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds, while Drye added nine points to go with a game-high 11 boards. Reynolds added nine points as well on three three-pointers.

Tulane shot 48.9 percent from the floor, including nine-of-17 three-pointers. The Green Wave also outrebounded North Texas, 36-25.

The Mean Green shot 39.6 percent from the floor and hit six-of-13 three-pointers.

Brandon Walton led NT with 16 points, while Maurice Aniefiok added 12 and Colin Voss chipped in with 10.

- Jonathan Stark scored in double figures in today's game with his 21 points, marking the freshman's 25th double figure scoring game of the season. Today marks his 10th 20-plus point game of the season.
- Jay Hook hit three 3-pointers in today's game, giving the junior 76 this season, the third most in a season in Green Wave history.
- Stark's seven assists today gives the freshman 137 dishes this season, moving him up to sixth-place on Tulane's single-season list.
- Hook scored in double figures in today's game with his 11 points. It is his 21st double digit scoring game of the season and the 22nd of his career.
- Tre Drye pulled down 11 rebounds in today's game, marking the 10th game this season with double figures in rebounds and the 13th game of his career.
- Tulane improved to 9-18 in its 19th C-USA Tournament.
- The Green Wave is now 2-0 all-time against North Texas.