Tulane Men to Battle UNO on Thursday

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Freshman Wayne Tinsley has started the first eight games of his career.
Freshman Wayne Tinsley has started the first eight games of his career.

Dec. 19, 2000

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NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Tulane University men's basketball team returns to action after a 12-day layoff on Thursday evening, traveling to Lakefront Arena to battle the University of New Orleans at 7 p.m.

The game will be available live on WSMB (1350 AM). The broadcast is also available on the internet by visiting the official Tulane web page at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.

Tulane (5-3) defeated next-door neighbor Loyola on Dec. 9, and then entered the University's exam period.

"We are looking forward to this game on Thursday with UNO," Tulane head coach Shawn Finney said. "It has been a long stretch of taking care of practice, while also getting our final exams taken care of, and we are excited to get back to playing some games."

The two local rivals have met 33 teams on the hardwood, with Tulane holding a 19-14 edge. The Green Wave has won the last two meetings, but the teams have split the last four. This will be the first contest at Lakefront Arena since 1992, an 83-61 Tulane victory. In the series history, five games have been decided by one point, while five others have gone to overtime.

"Any time you look at college basketball and the great rivalries that I have been involved with, like a Kentucky-Louisville or a Georgia-Georgia Tech, everything, records, conferences, can be thrown out the door," Finney said. "That's what makes this an exciting game for our fans and for us. We have the opportunity to go and play a very, very good UNO team, which has been a big rival for our school for years."

Tulane has been led this season by its four returning players from last year. Senior Ledaryl Billingsley (Chicago, Ill.) averages a double-double with 16.5 points and a league-leading 11.5 rebounds per game. Junior Linton Johnson (Chicago, Ill.) is scoring at a 14.1 point per game clip, while adding 7.6 rebounds per outing. His 17 blocked shots is second in Conference USA. Sophomore guard Brandon Spann (New Orleans, La.) paces the team in scoring (16.8), steals (17), three-pointers (12), and free-throw percentage (.830), while sophomore Brandon Brown (Houma, La.) brings his blue-collar game every night, averaging 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds. Brown leads the team with a .573 field goal percentage.

New Orleans enters the game with a 5-3 record following an 84-57 loss to LSU on Saturday. The Privateers are led by Tory's Walkers 19.1 points per game.

"It is going to be a great atmosphere," Finney said. "We need all the Tulane support we can get and we are looking forward to building on this rivalry. We play at their place Thursday, but we'll bring it back to our place next season."