March 13, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Senior David Gomez led all scorers with 18 points and junior Robinson Louisme added 13 points but top-seeded and second-ranked Memphis scored a combined 43 points from the free-throw line and d the three-point line to dispatch Tulane, 75-56, in the quarterfinal round of the 2008 Conference USA Tournament at the FedExForum.
Tulane completes its third season under head coach Dave Dickerson with a 17-15 record, while Memphis improves to 31-1. The Wave put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 12 years with a pair of 17-win seasons. TU was 17-13 a year ago. Tulane evened its record in the C-USA Tournament under Dickerson to 3-3 with all three losses coming to Memphis.
"I'm very proud of our seniors for what they accomplished since they have been at Tulane," Dickerson said. "We had back-to-back winning seasons. That is the first time that has happened in a decade. These guys are the second-winningest senior class in more than a decade. You can also say that no other senior class in college basketball history has had to go through what they have gone through (coaching change, Hurricane Katrina). I'm very proud of what we have accomplished in the short period of time we have been together.
"I wish that things could have ended a little differently, but they didn't. There was no correlation between last night's game and this game. There were 22 fouls called in last night's game total for both teams. And there were 23 fouls called on us tonight. So I just wish we could have had a better situation for our guys. Hats off to Memphis, they are a very good team, great coach, great players. I hope they win a national championship for our conference."
One of the more telling stats of the game is that Tulane was outrebounded 43-28 by Memphis, including a 16-7 advantage on the offensive boards, allowing the Tigers to score 22 second chance points to the Wave's seven. And the ninth-seeded Green Wave was whistled for 23 fouls compared to 10 for Memphis.
TU did manage to outscore Memphis in the paint 40-26, on the weight of the inside performances of Gomez and Louisme.
Tulane trailed by 14 points at halftime and managed to slice the lead to 13 points in the early moments of the second period on a lay-up by senior Matt Wheaton, but never got any closer. Memphis reeled off a 20-10 run that Robert Dozier capped off with a three-pointer at 11:37 to make the score, 57-34. The Wave never got any closer than 17 points the rest of the way.
Tulane fought hard for most of the game, but could not match Memphis fast-paced scoring and decided free throw advantage. The Tigers made 22 of 31 free throw attempts, while the Green Wave hit on six of only 10.
With 6:16 left in the game, Memphis' Anderson stole the ball and was fouled by senior Donnavan Stith. The officials then charged Chris Douglas-Roberts with a technical for comments he made after the play. Sophomore Kevin Sims stepped to the charity stripe and knocked down both of the technical free throws.
A short jumper from sophomore Eric Vianney brought Tulane to within 17 points with 50 seconds remaining in the game.
Gomez also added six rebounds and three blocked shots in his final game for the Green Wave, while Louisme overcame a foul-plagued first half with 11 second half points. Sims scored nine points and tallied six assists. Gomez concludes his career ranked 12th in scoring with 1,379 points, 15th for rebounds with 628 and fourth for blocked shots with 145.
"I'm disappointed that the season is over for me and the rest of the seniors," Gomez said. "I feel we left a mark at Tulane. This is our second year in a row with back-to-back winning seasons. That's something Tulane hasn't done in 11 years. I feel like we have gone through a lot of adversity and we have come through that. We left the younger guys with something to work towards. And for that I am content and don't regret that."
Tulane fell behind at the beginning, much like the game last night against Marshall, and scored slowly. Memphis jumped out to a 7-0 lead and extended the margin to 20-4 by the 13 minute mark. Tulane did not score its first points until Gomez hit the second of two free throws at the 17 minute mark. The Green Wave's first field goal came on a Louisme jumper nearly four minutes into the contest.
Louisme collected two quick fouls, and exited the game at the 19:36 mark. The Wave tallied 13 team fouls in the first half to just four by Memphis.
Gomez scored two quick baskets on a rebound and put-back, then scored another basket on the next trip down the court to make the score 20-8 in favor of Memphis. Tulane finally reached double figure points with 8:50 left in the first half when Gomez hit a turnaround jumper in the paint.
Vianney made a cut under the goal and received the in-bounds pass from Sims for a layup with four minutes left in the half. The Green Wave was able to keep the deficit to a steady margin in the first half, as Memphis hovered around a 15-point lead for most of the half, but after the Tigers built a commanding lead, TU never got within 12 points.
In the first half, Tulane shot 36 percent from the floor, and was led by Gomez who had 12 points on five of six shooting, and Sims dished four assists in the half. Memphis was led in scoring by Douglas-Roberts with 11 points. The Green Wave was outrebounded by Memphis 22 to 15 in the first half. In the first six-and-a-half minutes, the Wave was outrebounded by a margin of 10-2.
Douglas-Roberts led Memphis with 17 points, while Robert Dozier add 14 points, and Doneal Mack came off the bench and finished with 11 points.