Feb. 10, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane basketball team will look to right its course and get back into the win column during conference play when the Green Wave hosts the East Carolina Pirates at 7 p.m. this Wednesday at Fogelman Arena.
Tulane (9-13, 3-6 C-USA) put together back-to-back wins over second-place Tulsa and Rice in late January, but has dropped its last three straight decisions, including consecutive road losses at UAB (81-61) and at Marshall in overtime (89-86) last week.
TU is 7-4 at home this season, including 2-2 in Conference USA play, but is coming off a tough, 79-74, overtime loss to UCF in its last home game on Jan. 31. The Wave is averaging 71.7 points per game at home this season (6.4 points better than its season average), while holding its opponents to 64.4 points per contest. TU has scored 80+ points twice and has held six opponents to 65 or fewer points on its home floor this season.
Junior Kevin Sims leads TU in scoring with 12.0 points per game and assists with 3.9 per outing, while senior Robinson Louisme is the second leading scorer with 10.3 points per outings, and sophomore Kris Richard is the third Wave player averaging double figure scoring with 10.2 points per contest. Louisme is also the top rebounder with 6.5 boards per outing.
East Carolina (12-10, 3-5 C-USA) enters Wednesday's contest sitting in seventh place in the C-USA standings and is also riding a two-game win streak, its longest during league play, with home wins over Southern Miss (82-79) and UCF (89-75) last week. The Pirates are 3-5 on the road this season, but just 1-3 during conference play. ECU's lone win was at SMU (80-74) on Jan. 24.
Sam Hinnant is one of three players averaging double figures for East Carolina with 15.4 points per game, while James Legan is second in scoring with 12.6 points per contest, and Brock Young is third with 11.2 points per outing. Darrius Morrow is the team's top rebounder with 7.3 boards per game.
Wednesday's game marks the 11th all-time meeting between Tulane and East Carolina, and the Green Wave leads the series, 8-2. TU has an unblemished mark of 5-0 in New Orleans against the Pirates. Prior to its loss in the 2009 C-USA Opener to ECU, Tulane had claimed seven straight victories in the series, dating back to a 77-71 win on March 5, 2005.
The last time Tulane and East Carolina met was in this season's Conference USA opener at ECU on Jan. 7. In that game, the Green Wave rallied from a 12-point second half deficit to tie the game at 61-61 on a three-pointer from junior Asim McQueen with 2:19 remaining, but East Carolina hit eight straight free throws to come away with a 69-66 victory at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
Senior Daniel Puckett led all scorers with a career-high 22 points, while junior Eric Vianney notched 13 points and dished out a team-high four assists. Sophomore David Booker came off the bench to notch his single game scoring mark with nine points. Although Tulane was guilty of a season-low six turnovers, East Carolina won the battle on the boards, 38-31, and finished 27-of-33 from the foul line, compared to an 11-of-19 performance by the Wave.
The Green Wave makes its second visit to Houston in the last three weeks, but this time to battle the Houston Cougars on Saturday, February 14 at 7 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. TU escaped Houston three weeks ago with a 61-59 victory over Rice, courtesy of a buzzer-beating lay-up by junior Kevin Sims.