Men's Basketball Edges NJIT In Season Opener

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Junior Jay Hook posted career-highs with 24 points and 11 rebounds
Junior Jay Hook posted career-highs with 24 points and 11 rebounds

Nov. 8, 2013

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NEW ORLEANS - Jay Hook and Tre Drye each posted their first career double-double to lead the Tulane men's basketball team to a, 75-64, victory over visiting New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in the season opener for both team on Friday night at Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse.

Hook, who was in the starting lineup for the first time in his career, posted career -highs with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Drye also recorded career-bests in each category with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Freshman Jonathan Stark added 11 points in his collegiate debut.

"We are happy to get the win, but I think we still a lot of things we need to work on," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "Give credit in NJIT. They did a great job of putting the pressure on us. They went zone the whole first half and then they put the small lineup out there. Those are things that are hard to duplicate in practice."

Tulane (1-0), who improved to 3-1 in season openers under Conroy, and NJIT (0-1) battled back and forth for the first 12 minutes of the game as there were four ties and four lead changes. The Green Wave then took the lead for good on a three-pointer by freshman Cameron Reynolds with 7:41 left in the opening half that gave them a 20-19 advantage. Tulane built as much as a six-point lead in the half and held a 35-31 lead at the break.

"Our guys came out in the first seven or so minutes in the second half and really changed the game," Conroy added. "I was pleased that we were able to do that. NJIT certainly made it tough on us."

The Green Wave extended the lead by scoring the first seven points of the second half on a lay-up from Stark, a dunk from Drye and a three-pointer from Hook, to hold a 42-31 lead less than two minutes into the half. NJIT hit the next basket to cut the deficit back to single digits, but Tulane answered with a Stark jumper to retake a double digit lead, one they would hold for all but a few seconds until the final five minutes of the contest.

The Highlanders were able to put together a small run inside five minutes to cut the deficit to six, 64-58, with 2:59 remaining, but Tulane's youthful team didn't seemed phased and scored 11 of the final 17 points of the game to take the opening game of the season.

Tulane pulled of the win despite shooting just 39.0 percent from the floor in the game. The Green Wave did knock down eight three-pointers, including a career-high five by Hook and two by freshman Reynolds who finished the game with nine points.

Fellow freshman Payton Henson also contributed nine points in his collegiate debut, while sophomore Louis Dabney chipped in with eight points and three assists. The Green Wave dished out 16 assists on the evening, led by Stark's seven, and committed just nine turnovers.

NJIT shot 44.3 percent from the floor in the game, including 52.0 in the first half. The Highlanders also committed just nine turnovers in the game, but were outrebounded by the Green Wave, 46-31. Tulane grabbed 18 offensive boards as well that led to 17 second chance points.

Damon Lynn led the Highlanders with 21 points and Winfield Willis added 10.

Tulane will hit the road for the first time in 2013-14 for the next outing when they travel down I-10 to Baton Rouge to face Southern on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT.

- Freshman Jonathan Stark earned the start tonight, the first of his collegiate career.
- Junior Jay Hook started tonight's game for the first start of his career.
- Sophomore Louis Dabney received the start tonight, the second start of his career and first since he started at UTEP on Feb, 2, 2012.
- Junior Tre Drye pulled down 15 rebounds in tonight's game, marking the fourth time he has collected double figures on the boards. His 15 are also a career-high, besting his previous mark of 10 he recorded three previous times.
- Drye also scored 14 to record his first career double-double. His 14 points is his fifth double figure scoring game of his career. The 14 points are also a career-high.
- Hook scored 24, marking just the second time he reached double figures in points and the first time since Nov. 27, 2011 when he posted a career-best 13 points against San Diego.
- Hook also grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds, marking the first double-double of his career and the first double figure rebound game of his career.
- Stark posted his first career double figure scoring game with 11 points tonight in his collegiate debut.