Tulane Men Return Home Against UAB



Jan. 19, 2001

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NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Tulane University men's basketball team returns to Fogelman Arena for the first time in 17 days, hosting Conference USA rival UAB on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The game will be available live on WWL (870 AM). The broadcast is also available on the internet by visiting the official Tulane web page at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.

Tulane (7-9) has dropped its last four games, including its first meeting the Blazers from UAB. In that game, Tulane fell behind early, but sophomore Brandon Spann (New Orleans, La.) led a ferocious comeback. However, UAB pulled away in the second half, earning a 98-76 victory in front of its home crowd.

"UAB is a very talented and athletic team," Tulane head coach Shawn Finney said. "We saw what they could do the first time around. They hit big shots, scoring from three and also playing well in the paint. The difference was rebounding. They dominated the boards and we have to change that on Saturday if we are going to compete."

Spann leads the team in scoring with 17.8 points per game, including his 24-point effort in the first meeting with UAB. Senior captain Ledaryl Billingsley (Chicago, Ill.) has been a dominant player of late. The big man has topped 20 points in each of the last three games and is averaging 17.6 points per game. He also averages 9.7 rebounds per game, which is second in Conference USA. Junior Linton Johnson (Chicago, Ill.) was held to just six points on Wednesday by Mississippi State, but in the two games before that, the 6-8 swingman averaged 20.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals.

"Ledaryl has really stepped up his game," Finney said. "He has been a leader all season, but now he has started hitting from outside. The big thing is that he is gaining confidence, which you can see from his performance from the line. He has been hitting some big free throws for us. And Brandon Spann is doing it all. We have asked a lot of him. He needs to run the offense, not just distributing the ball, but also making shots. And defensively, he is a key in our press."

UAB has dropped three straight games to fall to 8-8 on the season. The Blazers are led by senior LeAndrew Bass, who averages 15.8 points and is second in Conference USA with 5.3 assists per game. Junior college transfers Eric Batchelor and P.J. Arnold also average double figures with 14.0 and 12.7 points per game, respectively. That duo combined for 12 three-pointers in the first meeting with Tulane.

Following Saturday's game, Tulane will remain home, hosting Memphis on Wednesday (Jan. 24) at 7 p.m. at the New Orleans Arena. For ticket information, call Ticketmaster or the Tulane box office at 504-961-WAVE.