Dec. 22, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - It wasn't easy, but the Tulane men's basketball team claimed the Westin Holiday Classic title on Sunday with a hard fought, 65-62, victory over visiting Northeastern in Devlin Fieldhouse.
The win came one day after the Green Wave (7-6) defeated Alabama State, 84-66, in the first game of the classic.
Jonathan Stark connected on three of four free throws in the final 30 seconds and the Tulane played solid defense down the stretch to secure their second victory in as many days. Stark finished the game with 12 points, all in the second half.
"I'm proud of our guys tonight," Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. "I loved watching them compete right from the start. Both teams competed hard and Northeastern is a program with a record that is a little deceiving when you look at the schedule they've played and how close some of their losses have been. That was a good competitive hard fought college basketball game."
Neither team held more than a five-point lead in the second half, a half that had eight lead changes and four ties. Tulane took the lead for the final time with 8:55 remaining when freshman Payton Henson connected on the three-pointer to give his team a 49-48 advantage. That three-pointer was part of a 7-0 Green Wave run that built the lead to 53-48 with 8:02 left.
Northeastern (3-9) continued to keep the deficit close and cut it to one, 58-57, with 4:47 on the clock and again with 1:17 remaining, but Stark score three of the final four points of the game to secure the win.
The Huskies managed only two field goals in the final four minutes of the game and had two turnovers in large part of the Green Wave's defensive efforts.
The first half was also back and forth with four lead changes and three ties. Tulane did hold an eight-point lead, 15-7, with 11:14 left, but Northeastern chipped away and eventually retook the lead, 22-21, with just over three minutes remaining in the half.
The Green Wave held a 26-25 lead at the break.
Louis Dabney led all scorers in the game with 20 points and dished out six assists. Jay Hook added 11 points, all in the second half, to compliment a team-high seven rebounds. Stark added five assists to his 12 points, while Tre Drye chipped in with six points, five rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Kevin Thomas came off the bench to contribute six points and three rebounds and Henson finished with five points.
Northeastern was led by David Walker with 18 points and Zach Stalh with 16. The Huskies top two scorers entering the game, Scott Eatherton (17.6 ppg) and Reggie Spencer (10.8 ppg) were held to just 12 points combined on just three-of-eight shooting. Spencer did lead all players with 13 rebounds, but score just two points in 36 minutes.
"Our guys really handled Northeastern's front line really well," Conroy added. "That front line is really, really good and we made it hard for them tonight."
As a team, the Huskies shot 42.6 percent from the floor, including 54.5 percent in the second half, but Northeastern managed to knock down just 15-of-30 free throws.
Tulane shot 44.9 percent from the floor, including 50.0 percent in the final 20 minutes. The Green Wave knocked down 16-of-20 free throws with all but one of those attempts coming in the second half.
The Green Wave return to action after the holiday break on Dec. 28 when they face Kansas State in Brooklyn's Barclay's Center. The game will tip at 4 p.m. CT and be aired live on Fox Sports 1.
Tickets for the 2013-14 Tulane men's basketball games are available for as low as $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children. For additional information, contact the Tulane Team Shop ticket office in person on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information is also available over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
- Louis Dabney scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 20 points. It is his 12th double digit scoring game of the season and the 14th of his career. He has scored in double figures in 12 straight games now.
- Jay Hook scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 11 points. It is his ninth double digit scoring game of the season and the 10th of his career.
- Jonathan Stark scored in double figures in tonight's game with his 12 points, marking his 12th double figure scoring game of his career. The freshman guard has reached double digits in all but one game this season and has scored in double digits in nine straight games.