Dec. 18, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Senior Daniel Puckett notched his first career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and the Tulane defense registered 15 steals during the Green Wave's 81-55 victory over North Carolina A&T at Fogelman Arena.
Tulane (5-4) snapped a two-game skid and produced its fourth home win of the year, and improved to 8-1 during the month of December on its home floor under head coach Dave Dickerson. North Carolina A&T dropped to 5-5 overall and remains winless on the road this season.
The Green Wave trailed just once in the game, which came during the opening minutes. With the contest knotted at 7-7, Tulane ran off a 14-2 spurt behind five points from junior guard Kevin Sims and a timely three-pointer by Puckett. By the time Brock Moorman sank a jumper at the 11:22 mark to end the run, the Aggies were already down by 10 points, 21-11.
Following Moorman's jumper, Tulane's defense held North Carolina A&T in check with just three field goals during the final 10 minutes and Puckett grabbed eight of his game-high 12 rebounds in the opening period. The Wave built a 17-point lead, its largest advantage in the opening period, on two occasions and led 38-23 at intermission.
"This is a great team win for us," Dickerson said. "We needed to have a win of substance in order to show our efforts in practice. I thought we had three good days of practice and we needed to come out tonight and show that those efforts were not in vain. The 20 assists for 30 field goals and 42 rebounds, including 21 offensive boards, showed we were ready, aggressive and we played hard.
"I was impressed with our team tonight and the way we have been responding to practice. Daniel Puckett had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and he's been our best player in practice every day since the Western Kentucky game. So, it's not surprising that he played well, and he is a senior. Robinson Louisme responded by coming in and playing well even though he didn't start. But, Puckett was the guy for us tonight."
North Carolina A&T made its final run early in the second half when the Aggies opened the half with a 12-6 run to pull to within nine points, 44-35, on Kam Shepherd's lay-up at 15:32. However, sophomore Johnny Mayhane immediately responded with a jumper for the Green Wave and Louisme answered with 10 points during a 13-2 run that gave TU a comfortable 20-point cushion with 10:09 remaining in the game.
The Aggies were never able to get any closer than 17 points the rest of the way and Dickerson emptied his bench during the final minutes of his 100th career game at Tulane.
"It's been fun. I'm lucky to be a head basketball coach and I am lucky to be at a great institution like Tulane University, and I look forward to my next 100 games here," Dickerson said.
Along with Puckett, Louisme scored a team-best 16 points and grabbed eight boards in 21 minutes, while Sims chipped in 14 points and four assists. Sophomore Kris Richard also gave the Wave's bench a boost with 10 points and a career-high five steals.
Tulane controlled the boards, out-rebounding NCAT, 42-32, and the Wave's bench was dominant as well, out-scoring the Aggies reserves, 44-15. TU shot 46.9 percent from the field and 77.3 percent from the free throw-line, while North Carolina A&T managed just a 38.9 percent effort from the field, including a 10 percent performance from behind the three-point line.
Robert Johnson tied Louisme for game high scoring honors with 16 points, while Tavarus Alston contributed 12 points.