Tulane's Comeback Bid against Rival New Orleans Falls Short, 74-67

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Sophomore Kevin Sims scored 13 points in Saturday's loss to New Orleans.
Sophomore Kevin Sims scored 13 points in Saturday's loss to New Orleans.

Nov. 24, 2007

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NEW ORLEANS - Senior David Gomez scored 15 points and Tulane shot 51 percent for the game, but the Green Wave suffered 19 turnovers and its attempt to comeback from a 17-point deficit fell short in a 74-67 loss in front of 3,074 at Fogelman Arena.

Tulane (3-1) suffered its first loss of the year, and much like the last time the Green Wave opened with a 3-0 mark in 2003-04, New Orleans (3-0) was there to hand TU its first loss of the season on its home floor. The loss also snapped TU's eight-straight wins against non-conference opponents at Fogelman Arena and marked just the second loss for the Green Wave on its home floor to a non-league team under third-year head coach Dave Dickerson.

Tulane fell behind early and trailed by as many as seven points on several occasions during the first half of the opening period. The Green Wave shot 47.8 percent in the first half, but surrendered an uncharacteristic 13 turnovers. TU scraped back and trailed by just four points on baskets by Gomez and a three-pointer by junior Daniel Puckett that pulled the Wave to within four points. However, UNO's Kechan Myers and James Parlow connected on consecutive three-pointers to give the Privateers and 11 point lead. Gomez sliced the deficit to eight points, but Myers drilled another trey and Kyndall Dykes broke free for a lay-up with 13-seconds remaining and the Privateers took an 11-point lead into the break.

New Orleans continued to play well during the early minutes of the second half and used a 12-4 run to build a 17-point advantage, its largest of the game, on a pair of Dykes free throws at the 13:35 mark. However, Tulane refused to go quietly to its inner-city rival, and shored up its defense with some gritty play over the next 6:40 to climb back into the game using a 21-2 run.

The surge started when Gomez drained two free throws and senior Matt Wheaton followed those up with a jumper. Gomez then hit a lay-up and was fouled by Myers. Gomez hit the free throw for the conventional three-point play to pull the Green Wave to within 11 points.

Following a Wheaton steal, sophomore Eric Vianney sank a three-pointer from the top of the key and Wheaton followed suit with a three-ball of his own and all of the sudden the Privateers' lead had dwindled to just four points. UNO scored its lone points of the run on a Dykes lay-up at the 9:13 mark. Tulane continued to pound away at the lead and ripped off six straight points on baskets by Puckett, Gomez and a put-back by senior Donnavan Stith to tie the game at 53 apiece.

UNO's Ben Elias banked in a jumper from the right side to help the Privateers regain the lead, but Vianney tied the contest for the third time with a lay-up with 6:05 remaining. On the ensuing possession, Elias missed a short jumper, but Bo McCalebb grabbed the offensive carom and was fouled. McCalebb connected on 1-of-2 free throws to give his team a one-point lead that it would not surrender.

Tulane continued to make a late push, but its four turnovers in the final five minutes stifled the effort. The Wave got as close as four points on a Stith three-pointer, but was unable to draw any closer.

"My hat's off to the University of New Orleans basketball team," Dickerson said. "They have some tough and resilient kids who did a great job for 40 minutes tonight. I wish we would have been able to get into some type of rhythm tonight, but we can't take anything away from them. They were physical and quick and the 15 steals has got to be a record. We were flat all night. We came back from 17 points to tie the score a couple of times but we were never fully into the game."

Along with Gomez, sophomore Kevin Sims finished with 13 points, while Puckett chipped in 10 points. Stith grabbed a game-best seven rebounds, and the teams battled to a 30-30 tie in the rebound department.

McCalebb led all scorers with 18 points, while Dykes, who suffered an injury late in the contest, added 16 points and Myers and Kechan contributed 13 and 10 points, respectively.

The contest was plagued by game clock and shot clock malfunctions for much of the contest, which forced numerous stoppages.