Nov. 23, 2000
HILO, Hawaii - The Tulane University men's basketball team is in action this week at the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawaii, this week. The Green Wave opens action at 11:30 p.m. (CST) on Friday against the host, University of Hawaii-Hilo.
The Tulane game will be available live on WWL (870 AM) or WSMB (1350 AM). The broadcast is also available on the internet by visiting the official Tulane web page at www.TulaneGreenWave.com
Joining Tulane and Hilo in the tourney field are Oregon State, Montana State, Appalachian State, San Francisco, Long Beach State, and nationally-ranked Oklahoma.
Tulane has won its first two games of the year under first-year head coach Shawn Finney. He is just the seventh first-year coach to win his first two games at Tulane. Only three of those have opened their careers with three wins.
"This is a great opportunity for our team to play against top-level competition in a great environment," Finney said. "Hawaii-Hilo will be our first road test and I hope we can continue with our early success this week."
The Green Wave has relied on a pair of returning players to lead the attack thus far this season. Ledaryl Billingsley (Chicago, Ill.), the lone senior and the captain of the team, is averaging 17.5 points and 15.0 rebounds per game, while sophomore Brandon Spann (New Orleans, La.) leads the way with 21.5 points per game, while dishing out 5.5 assists per contest.
The supporting cast has been junior Linton Johnson (Chicago, Ill.), who has 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per outing, and sophomore Brandon Brown (Houma, Ill.) with 15.0 points and eight rebounds per game.
The key for the Wave in their hope for a third straight win will be their ability to control Hawaii-Hilo's backcourt, while dominating in the paint behind Billingsley. The Vulcans are a Division II team that competes in the Pacific West Conference and will be opening their season on Friday. They are hosting the ninth version of the Big Island Invitational. Junior Scott Prather, a 5-10 point guard, averaged 8.2 points per game last year while handing out 75 assists. Two guard Alan Thomas is a big-time scorer who averaged over 20 points per game last year, while Stanley Ibia averaged 8.9 points with 4.0 rebounds per contest. Coach Jew Law's inside game is young and inexperienced, while should allow Billingsley, as well as Johnson and Brown, to exert themselves.
If Tulane wins on Friday, the Wave will meet the winner of the Oklahoma-Montana State contest.at 9 p.m. (CST) on Saturday. With a loss, Tulane will battle the loser of that same game at 11:30 p.m. (CST) on Saturday.