Feb. 27, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane Green Wave men's basketball squad will look to notch its third straight season with 10 home wins and improve its seeding in the upcoming Conference USA Tournament when the team concludes the 2008-09 home schedule this Saturday at 7 p.m. when UTEP invades Fogelman Arena on Senior Day.
Tulane (12-15, 6-8 C-USA) is sitting alone in seventh place in the Conference USA standings, and can improve its chances of clinching the seventh seed in the upcoming Conference USA Tournament next week in Memphis, Tenn., with a win on Saturday over the Miners.
TU is 9-5 at home this season, including 4-3 in Conference USA play, and is coming off a 57-51 victory over Marshall in its last home contest a week ago. The Wave has put together back-to-back victories and has won three out of its last five outings with its losses coming to UAB and Houston, the league's third- and fourth-place teams, respectively.
Tulane has won a combined 30 games on its come floor the last three seasons, including 10+ win campaigns the last two years, and can reach the 10-win plateau for the third straight season with a win over UTEP. The Wave was 11-4 at home in 2006-07 and was 10-6 a year ago.
Junior Kevin Sims leads TU in scoring with 12.6 points per game and assists with 4.0 per outing, while sophomore Kris Richard and Robinson Louisme are second and third in scoring with 11.2 and 10.4 points per contest, respectively. Louisme is also the top rebounder with 7.2 boards per outing.
Tulane Athletics will honor the 2008-09 senior class of Nick Scott, Daniel Puckett and Robinson Louisme with a pre-game ceremony prior to Saturday's tip-off. Scott, Puckett and Louisme have helped Tulane to a combined 68 victories during their careers, including 45 home wins, a 3-1 mark in Conference USA Tournament opening round games and a fourth-place finish in the league in 2006-07.
Scott walked on to the team this past fall and has played in two games. He is a finance and economics major from Seattle, Wash.
Puckett, who hails from McEwen, Tenn., has played in 117 career games with 57 starts and ranks 10th for games played among TU's career leaders. A digital design major, he has scored a career-high 22 points on two occasions this season.
A native of Fort Myers, Fla., Louisme has played in 105 games with 75 starts and will leave his mark in the TU record book as the school's second ranked leader in field goal percentage and ranks sixth for blocked shots. A media arts major, Louisme has scored a career-best 21 points twice in his career and grabbed a career-best 16 rebounds, the second-best effort by a Conference USA player this season, this past Tuesday at Southern Miss.
UTEP (17-10, 8-5 C-USA) has won four of its last five games with its lone loss coming at home to No. 4 Memphis last Saturday, 70-63. The Miners, who are currently in fifth place in the C-USA standings, are 5-4 overall on the road this season, including 4-3 in league games. UTEP downed Rice in its last conference road game, 67-58, on Feb. 18.
Stefon Jackson, the league's second-leading scorer, leads the Miner attack with 23.3 points per game, while Randy Culpepper is the only other UTEP player averaging double figures with 17.6 points. Arnett Moultrie is the team's top rebounder with 7.8 boards per outing.
Saturday's game marks the fifth all-time meeting between Tulane and UTEP, and the Miners lead the series, 3-1. Saturday's contest also marks just the second meeting between the teams in New Orleans. In the only previous game in the Big Easy, Tulane dispatched the Miners, 92-67 at Fogelman Arena on Feb. 7, 2007. Both teams are perfect on their respective home floors in the series with UTEP sporting 2-0 mark, while Tulane is 1-0.
The Green Wave closes out the regular season at No. 4 Memphis on Saturday, March 7 at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. Tip-off is slated for Noon and the game will be aired live on Comcast Sports South.