March 20, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - History was made in Devlin Fieldhouse on Wednesday night as the Tulane men's basketball team defeated South Alabama, 84-73, in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament for the program's first postseason victory since 1996.
Josh Davis led the Green Wave (20-14) to the historic win with 26 points and 12 rebounds for his 19th double double of the season. The junior forward was joined in double figures by Kendall Timmons and Ricky Tarrant with 13 points each.
"I challenged our guys pride wise before this game," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "South Alabama is a very good team from a league that got two teams in the NCAA Tournament. This was about respect. I'm very, very, proud of our guys. They played well against a good opponent that was well coached."
Timmons, a senior forward, scored the opening two points of the game on a pair of free throws to give Tulane the lead, one they kept throughout the entire game. The Green Wave built up as much as a 10-point lead in the opening half, 25-15, with 10:37 left and held at least a four-point lead the rest of the half, taking a 38-29 lead into the locker room at the break.
South Alabama, who ended their season with a 17-13 record, cut the deficit to two, 50-48, with 12:37 left in the game, but Tulane outscored the Jaguars, 10-4 over the next four minutes to retake an eight-point lead.
USA cut it back to five, 61-56, with 7:23 left, but that was as close as they would get. Tulane used a 9-0 run and to build a 15-point lead, 76-61, with 3:25 remaining. The Green Wave's largest lead of the game was 16 after Louis Dabney knocked down a pair of free throws with 2:29 left.
The victory for Tulane was the first in the postseason since the 1995-96 team won four games in the NIT, including a consolation game victory over Alabama in Madison Square Garden. The win also gave Tulane its first 20-win season since the 1999-2000 season and just the 11th 20-win season in the program's history.
South Alabama was led by the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Augustine Rubit with 31 points and five rebounds. Mychal Ammons added 11 points, while Javier Carter scored nine points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
Tulane's defense held South Alabama to just 34.6 percent shooting from the field in the first half and forced 15 total turnovers that led to 14 points. The Green Wave shot 44.1 percent from the floor in the game and connected on 27-of-37 free throws.
Tulane will advance to face Bradley in Peoria, Ill., on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT in the second round of the CIT. Bradley advanced with a 75-69 victory at home over Green Bay on Wednesday night.
- Jordan Callahan's first 3-pointer tonight gave him 78 this season, breaking the Tulane single season record of 77 held by Michael Christian set in 1989-90. Callahan finished the game with two 3-pointers for 79 this season.
- Junior forward Josh Davis reached double figures in tonight's game with his 26. He now has scored in double figures in 31 games this season and in 50 games during his career.
- Davis pulled down 12 rebounds tonight, marking his 20th double digit rebound game of the season and 36th of his career.
- Davis collected his 19th double double of the season and the 31st of his career with his 26 points and 12 rebounds tonight.
- Davis became just the third player in Tulane history to score 600 points in a season. Davis posted 26 points tonight to give the junior 608 points this season.
- Ricky Tarrant became the 34th player in Tulane history to reach the 1,000 career point milestone on a lay-up with 14:25 left in the second half. The sophomore needed nine points entering the game and finished with 13 points and 1,004 Points.
- Tarrant reached double figures in tonight's game with his 12. He now has scored in double figures in 27 games this season and in 51 games during his career.
- Senior guard Kendall Timmons reached double figures in tonight's game with his 13. He now has scored in double figures in nine games this season and in 64 games in his career.
- Tulane won its 20th game of the season tonight, marking the first 20-win season since the 1999-2000 team posted 20. It is also the 11th time in school history a team has reached at least 20 wins.
- The Tulane win also marks the first postseason win for the program since the 87-76 victory over Alabama in the NIT consolation game on March 28, 1996.
- Tulane improves to 11-9 all-time in postseason games.