Dec. 20, 2007
HONOLULU - Sophomore Kevin Sims scored 16 of his team best 18 points in the second half and junior Robinson Louisme added 12 points, but Tulane couldn't overcome 19 turnovers, a poor shooting first half and a game-high 23 points by Saint Mary's Patrick Mills in a 64-57 loss to the Gaels in the first round of the 2007 Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Tulane (6-4) will play its second round game on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CST against the winner of the Georgia-East Tennessee State contest.
It was a tale of two halves for the Green Wave. Tulane shot just 30 percent in the opening half, committed 13 turnovers and trailed Saint Mary's (8-1) by 12 points at halftime. In the second period, the Wave came alive, outscoring the Gaels, 37-32, and shooting 50 percent from the field, including 50 percent from behind the three-point line.
Tulane played well during the first 4:29 of the second half, outscoring SMC, 8-4, and had sliced the deficit to single digits, 36-29, by the first media timeout. But a Carlin Hughes three-pointer at the 13:04 mark gave Saint Mary's a double-digit lead once again. The Wave managed to scrape back to it is closest margin of seven points on a Sims lay-up that brought the score to 39-32 with plenty of time remaining for a comeback.
However, TU's chances and its three-game win streak evaporated into the breezy Hawaiian night when Mills drained a three-pointer that increased the Gaels' lead to 11 points with 8:19 remaining. From there, Saint Mary's held on to its double digit lead until the waning moments of the contest. Tulane erased a 12 point deficit behind Sims' seven straight points in the final minute and freshman Kris Richard capped off the night with a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Senior David Gomez scored all eight of his points in the second half and led the Wave with 10 rebounds. Louisme was very effective in the first half with 10 points, but had just one field goal in the second half, which came with just 5:33 remaining in the contest.
Mills canned 9-of-18 field goal attempts was the dominant force for Saint Mary's. Gael's big man Omar Samhan added 11 points, while Diamon Simpson grabbed a game-best 11 rebounds.
Tulane outshot SMC 39.7 percent to 36.2 percent and had 23 field goals, compared to 21 for the Gaels. However, the Wave was whistled for 25 fouls which resulted in 18 made free throws, and Tulane made just eight free throws for the game.
Saint Mary's came out from the start and took control of the game with Mills scoring seven of his 15 first half points in the first four minutes. The Gaels scored the first five points before junior Daniel Puckett drove the lane and hit a jumper to give the Wave its first points of the game. Louisme would then scored four of TU's first six points to bring Tulane to within two points, 10-8, at the 14:56 mark.
Saint Mary's then reeled off six straight points to take a 16-8 lead, but the Green Wave countered with six straight points of its own and trailed by two points on a turn-around jumper by Louisme. Following a free throw by Samhan, Richard, who saw significant playing time in the first half with Sims saddled with two fouls, rebounded a missed shot and stuck it back in to bring Tulane to within a point, 17-16, with 9:44 remaining in the opening period.
However, turnovers and poor shooting doomed TU down the stretch in the first half. Trailing by a point, Tulane turned the ball over six times and missed 11 field goals and the Gaels took advantage with a 15-4 run. The Wave went scoreless for over five minutes before Louisme snapped the drought at the 4:22 mark with a basket. The next time TU scored was on a pair of Sims' free throws with 1:41 remaining and Saint Mary's took a 32-20 lead into the break.