Jan. 4, 2002
CHICAGO, Ill. - Tulane University will open its 2001-2002 Conference USA schedule on Saturday afternoon when it plays DePaul University at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill.
Tulane (8-3) is looking to snap a two-game losing streak, while DePaul has won four straight, including an upset of No. 10 Missouri last Saturday.
"DePaul is a very athletic team," Tulane head coach Shawn Finney said. "I believe they have found themselves. They are playing extremely well with the upset over Missouri. They are a young athletic team that can create problems for a lot of teams around the country."
The Green Wave has dropped consecutive games to SEC opponents. Last Saturday the Wave fell to Mississippi State at the New Orleans Arena, 77-66. On Wednesday, Tulane fell to Kentucky, 101-67.
"We have to learn from our mistakes," Finney said following the UK contest. "We need to lay this one [Kentucky] to rest and get ready for DePaul."
Currently, Brandon Brown leads Tulane in scoring (16.1 ppg), rebounding (7.1 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.643). The 6-8 big man is averaging 19.0 points per game in the last six games. Brandon Spann is second on the team with 14.0 points per game and he leads Conference USA with his .923 shooting from the free-throw line.
DePaul will be led by a pair of big bodies in the paint. Six-nine, 230-pound forward Andrew Brown and 6-9, 260-pound forward Sam Hoskin average 13.9 and 13.4 points, respectively. In addition, 6-9, 250-pound senior Lance Williams has 10 points per game and a team-high 8.0 rebounds per outing. Hoskin adds 7.9 rebounds per game and he has connected on 12 three-pointers. Blue Demon point guard Imari Sawyer leads Conference USA in assists with 7.3 per game.
The Wave has four players "returning home" in a sense for Saturday's game. Waitari Marsh and Linton Johnson are Chicago natives, while Marc Siegel grew up in Lake Forest. Ivan Pjevcevic, a native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, went to high school for one year at New Trier High School in Willamette, Ill.
Marsh and Johnson both played at DePaul two seasons ago as sophomores, with Tulane losing 85-54.
"It is always good to play in front of the home fans," Marsh commented. "But it is always more important to leave with a 'W.' I am just eager to play hard for a win, coming off two losses. I have not thought too much about the home thing."
On Friday, the Green Wave practiced at the Sheri L. Berto Arena, the practice facility of the Chicago Bulls.
"We need a place to practice and this was an opportunity for the players to see an NBA facility," Finney said. "It is good for college players to see what is like to be in the NBA."
Tulane will return to New Orleans following Saturday's game. The Wave hosts Houston on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Fogelman Arena, followed by another league game at Fogelman on Saturday against pre-season league favorite Memphis. That game will tip off at 2 p.m.