Feb. 29, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane Green Wave basketball team will play its final road game of the 2007-08 regular season this Saturday against the UAB Blazers at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Ala. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Tulane (15-12, 5-8 C-USA) is looking to improve its position in the league standings heading into the final three games of the regular season. The Wave is currently sitting in ninth place and trails Tulsa in eighth place by a full game. TU is 4-6 overall on the road this season, and sports a 3-4 mark away from home in C-USA play.
Following Saturday's game, TU will play its final two games on its home floor in Fogelman Arena before entering the Conference USA Tournament the following week (March 12-15) in Memphis, Tenn.
For the year, Tulane is averaging 67 points and 34.1 rebounds per game and is shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from behind the three-point line and 70.7 percent from the free-throw line.
David Gomez and Kevin Sims lead the Green Wave is scoring with 14.4 and 12.5 points per game, respectively. Gomez is also the team's top rebounder with 5.8 boards per game, respectively, while Sims leads the squad in assists and steals with 4.0 and 1.4 per contest, respectively.
UAB (20-8, 10-3 C-USA) comes into Saturday's match-up with Tulane riding a three-game win streak and has won five out of its last six ball games. The Blazers last defeat was on its home floor in the final seconds of a 79-78 loss to top-ranked Memphis on Feb. 16.
The Blazers are battling Houston for second place in the C-USA standings with both teams holding on to a 10-3 league mark. However, UAB won the head-to-head game against the Cougars and holds the tie-breaker. UAB has been stellar on its home court this season with a 12-1 overall mark and a 5-1 conference record. Prior to its loss to Memphis, the Blazers had won 11 straight at Bartow Arena.
UAB is averaging 74.8 points and 37.2 rebounds per game and is shooting 46.3 percent from the field, including 39.1 percent from behind the arc, and 71.1 percent from the foul line.
Robert Vaden is one of three Blazers averaging double figures with 21.7 points per game (3rd in C-USA), while Channing Toney (12.1) and Lawrence Kinnard (11.2) round out the Blazers' top scorers. Kinnard is also the top rebounder on the team with 6.9 boards per outing.
Saturday's game marks the 28th all-time meeting between Tulane and UAB, and the Blazers lead the series, 15-12. Tulane has an all-time record of 5-8 against the Blazers in Birmingham, but won its last contest on UAB's home floor with a 76-74 victory a year ago.
The Green Wave has a 2-1 record this season against schools from the state of Alabama. Tulane topped Auburn (77-62) and Alabama State (69-60) earlier this season, but fell to UAB in the final seconds on Jan. 9, 62-61.
Wheaton Hits a Shot for the Ages:
Tulane entered last season's finale at UAB needing a victory to clinch a fourth place finish in league play, but more importantly a win would give the Green Wave a first-round bye in the upcoming Conference USA Tournament.
The Wave trailed by a single point when Frank Holmes banked a shot from the middle of the lane and gave the Blazers a 74-73 advantage. On the final possession of the game for Tulane, freshman point guard Kevin Sims drove the ball into the middle of the lane and sent a pass out to the right side to a wide-open Matt Wheaton. In his lone three-point attempt of the game, Wheaton squared up and sent his high-arcing shot toward the basket and came up with the game winner.
Tulane concludes the regular season next week when it plays the final two games on its home floor against Marshall on Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m., and will honor its seniors in the finale vs. East Carolina on Saturday, March 8 at 6 p.m.