Gomez, Hot Shooting Second Half Propels Tulane Past Alabama State, 69-60

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Senior David Gomez tallied 24 points and helped Tulane to a 69-60 win over Alabama State at Fogelman Arena.
Senior David Gomez tallied 24 points and helped Tulane to a 69-60 win over Alabama State at Fogelman Arena.

Dec. 28, 2007

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NEW ORLEANS - Senior David Gomez matched his season high with 24 points and sophomore Kevin Sims dished out a career-best nine assists to lead Tulane to its third straight win with a 69-60 victory over Alabama State in front of 1,355 at Fogelman Arena.

Playing its fourth game in eight days, Tulane (9-4) overcome a sluggish start in the first half with a near perfect shooting performance in the early minutes of the second period to put away the Hornets (4-5). The Green Wave turned the paint into a lay-up contest by hitting its first seven shots of the second half inside the lane. TU's hot hand extended its two-point half time lead into an 11 point advantage via an 11-2 run with just 3:30 expired in the second half. Tulane led by as many as 11 points on three different occasions in the second half. The hot-shooting Wave canned 10 of its first 13 field goal attempts of the second half en route to a 61.9 percent performance in the final 10 minutes

However, Alabama State never gave up and used a 10-0 run near the midway point to pull to within three points on a three-pointer by Andrew Hayles that brought the score to 47-44 at 10:52.

The Green Wave regained its momentum through with the courtesy of a three-point play which ignited a 7-0 spurt. Freshman Johnny Mayhane was fouled driving to the basket and his field goal attempt found its mark. Mayhane sank his first career free throw for the conventional three-point play. Minutes later, junior Robinson Louisme converted a lay-up and Gomez made two free throws to extend the lead back to double figures.

Alabama State scraped to within six points, but a timely Sims three-pointer helped the Green Wave build a 13-point lead and sprint to the finish.

Gomez also registered seven rebounds and became just the 14th player in Tulane's 97-year history to notch over 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. Louisme and Sims each finished with 10 points apiece. Tulane shot 51 percent for the game, while holding Alabama State to 38.8 percent.

The Green Wave played a very balanced and unselfish game with 21 assists on 26 field goals. A total of four TU players notched three or more assists, including Sims, junior Daniel Puckett with four and three each from senior Matt Wheaton and sophomore Eric Vianney.

"This was a difficult game for us with the fact we recently made a long pilgrimage back from Hawaii," Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson said. "We're not the program that can handle a lot of success just yet and we came out uninspired, so I put the game on our seniors: Donnie Stith, Matt Wheaton and David Gomez. I told them this was a big game for our program and if we lose this game we are right back where we started when Tulane made the coaching change. We had to come out and play inspired basketball in the second half and I thought those guys (seniors) did a good job of rallying the team. We had a good 10 minute stretch in the second half that helped us win the game."

Alabama State came out on fire in the first half and quickly built a 10-2 lead. Following a Tulane timeout, Gomez drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key and Sims followed suit with another trey to bring TU to with two points. However, the Hornets maintained their lead for much of the first half and eventually built a nine-point advantage on a jumper by Chief Kickingstallionsims.

The Wave's stingy defense corralled ASU in the closing minutes and Gomez tied the game at 26-26 on a jumper with 2:44 remaining in the opening period. Louisme then gave TU its first lead with a lay-up. Fitch tied the game a jumper with just under a minute left. But Gomez handed Tulane the lead for good when he drained a shot with 0:03 remaining on the clock and the Wave took a 30-28 advantage into intermission.

Hayles led four Hornets in double figures with 13 points, while Brandon Gordon helped ASU out-rebound Tulane, 38-38, with 10 boards.