Tulane Edges Nicholls State , 72-70

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Eric Vianney's free throws with five seconds left put the Green Wave on top for good.
Eric Vianney's free throws with five seconds left put the Green Wave on top for good.

Nov. 22, 2008

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NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane men's basketball team made sure fans in attendance were given a show as the Green Wave edged out Nicholls State 72-70 Saturday afternoon at Fogelman Arena. With the game tied 70-70 with five seconds to go in the contest, Tulane's Eric Vianney hit two free throws to put the Green Wave up by two. A layup at the buzzer by Nicholls State's Justin Payne was declared too late after review by the officials and the game was ruled final in favor of Tulane.

"I told our team with ten minutes to go, the team that makes the least number of mistakes is going to win the game," head coach Dave Dickerson said. "We were able to limit our mistakes and take advantage late."

Sophomore guard Kevin Sims, who scored a team-high 22 points, hit his first trey to open the scoring, 3-0, a minute into the game but Nicholls State's Fred Hunter, who posted a game-high 23 points, answered back with a layup 24 seconds later. The teams exchanged baskets until the Colonels pulled away, extending their lead 14-9 on a three-point bucket from Dominic Friend with 15:20 to go in the half.

"Nicholls State is a very good team. They kept us on our heels the whole night," Sims said.

Daniel Puckett (two points, five rebounds, two blocks) fed Sims, who hit another trey to bring Tulane within two, 14-12. Sims found his rhythm and followed with two assists, a steal, followed by another assist to spur the Green Wave to a 13-point scoring drive that put them up 25-16 with 11:44 to go in the first half.

Nicholls State brought the game within three, 29-26, on a Hunter layup. The Green Wave maintained their lead throughout the first half but only managed a four-point lead, 36-32, going into halftime.

Sims again opened the scoring of the second half with a layup, followed by Hunter adding in two points of his own for the Colonels to make it 38-34 in favor of the Green Wave. A Robinson Louisme (12 points, eight rebounds) layup extended Tulane's lead, 40-34. Nicholls State's Kellan Carter passed to Hunter, who tipped it in with 15:43 left in the game.

The teams traded buckets and with 3:02 left in the contest, the score was tied 66 a piece. Louisme tipped the ball in to give the Green Wave the advantage but Hunter answered back with a layup and a free throw to complete the three-point play after Tulane's Richard was called for the foul to put the Colonels back on top, 69-68 with 2:13 to play.

Friend found himself at the line and sunk the first free throw but missed the second and Richards pulled down the board. Sims took control of the ball and was fouled by Carter, which brought the Green Wave guard to the line. He sunk both, tying the game at 70-70, with just over a minute to play.

As the clock ticked down, Hunter missed a layup, which Puckett rebounded. A timeout was called with five seconds to play after Hunter received his fifth personal foul, which sent Vianney to the line. His only free throw attempts of the night were good and Tulane went up 72-70, which was enough to secure the victory.

"We just didn't execute well in the last minutes of the first half," Dickerson said. "But we pulled it together and we won the game. The one thing I tried to stress to the guys is that we have things we need to work on, but there's a lot of teams in the country that have things to work on. If we can work on those things and continue to improve, then we have a chance to be a good team."

Tulane hosts Albany State at home on Tuesday. Tip-off is at 7pm at Fogelman Arena.