Tulane falls at Tulsa in OT, 91-89

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Tulane Men’s Basketball Falls at Tulsa in OT, 91-89

TULSA, Okla. – Playing its second overtime game in just nine days, the Tulane men’s basketball team placed five scorers in double-figures, but was outscored by 10 points in the second half before falling to Tulsa, 91-89, Thursday night in an American Athletic Conference matchup at the Reynolds Center.

Samir Sehic led all players with 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting – his third 20-point performance of the season, while Jordan Cornish matched a career-high with 20 points in his second 20-point effort in as many games to complement five assists. For the second game in a row, Cameron Reynolds notched a double-double, his fourth of the season, with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Earning his second start of the season, Colin Slater matched a personal best with 14 points and handed out a career-high seven assists, as Caleb Daniels chipped in 14 points and three assists off the bench.

Tulsa (14-10, 7-5 AAC) also had five players score in double digits, led by Junior Etou’s 19 points and 11 rebounds. Corey Henderson, Jr., dropped 19 points, as Martins Igbanu and Sterlin Taplin contributed 17 points apiece. Jaleel Wheeler added 11 points and nine boards off the bench.

Both sides got off to hot starts, as the Green Wave got an early jolt off the bench from Sehic who made three-straight layups. The Golden Hurricane made five of its first nine shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, to claim an early 14-11 advantage just over five minutes into the action.

Tulsa opened up a nine point lead, 22-13, with 10:44 remaining, but Tulane went into attack mode by making five consecutive shots from the point and used a 7-0 scoring run to tie the game at 24 on a layup by Daniels with 8:10 to go.

Despite a pair of free throws by the Golden Hurricane, Cornish knifed his way into the heart of the defense and completed a three point play at the 6:50 mark to reclaim the lead, 27-26. That basket ignited an 8-0 run for the Wave, which was bookended with another three point play by Daniels to make it 32-26 with 5:24 left.

Tulsa was able to cut its deficit to just three on a 3-pointer by Etou, but Sehic countered at the other end with yet another three-point play to extend Tulane’s lead to 39-33 with 3:38 remaining.

Tulane finished the half making eight of its last nine shots from the field, its last a fast break 3-pointer by Slater to push the lead to double digits, as the Wave took a 44-34 advantage into halftime.

The Green Wave shot a season-best 18-for-28 (.643) from the field in the first half, including 3-for-7 (.429) beyond the arc, while the Golden Hurricane went 11-for-27 (.407) from the floor, 5-for-15 (.333) from outside and 7-for-10 (.700) at the free throw line.

Making his first-career start, freshman Bul Ajang kept the momentum going early in the second half by knocking down a jumper from the free throw line on Tulane’s first possession to push the lead to 12. A Slater trey at the 16:30 mark kept the margin at a dozen, 53-41, but a 10-2 run by Tulsa brought the home team within five, 55-50, on a layup by Igbanu with 13:24 to go.

The Green Wave used a 8-3 run from that point, capped by a Cornish 3-pointer with 10:55 left, to push the advantage back to double digits, 63-53. The Golden Hurricane made four of five shots down to the 9:18 mark and cut its deficit to just six, 65-59, as the Wave called a timeout.

Tulsa was able to get stops, while Tulane struggled to make baskets, as a flurry of points in the paint by the Golden Hurricane leveled the score at 71 with 4:28 remaining. Reynolds converted the Green Wave’s fourth three point play of the night on their next possession to pull back in front by three.

The Golden Hurricane would roar back once more and tie the game at 78, but Reynolds had an answer at the other end with 30 seconds left to put the Wave back ahead by two. Taplin made a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to tie the game at 80, and despite a pair of chances in the final seconds, Tulsa’s defense held strong as time ran out on regulation, sending the game to overtime.

The Hurricane struck first with a layup on its first possession in extra time, but four straight points by the Wave, including a trey by Reynolds put Tulane back in front by a pair, 84-82. The score would be tied three more times in the period, the last coming at 89-all on Cornish triple with 40 seconds left.

Taplin converted a layup on Tulsa’s final possession with eight ticks remaining on the clock to put his team up a pair, and following a Green Wave timeout to draw up a play, a desperation three-pointer by Riley Conroy missed the basket as time expired.

Tulane finished the night shooting 33-for-65 (.508) overall, 8-for-22 (.364) from 3-point range and 15-for-25 (.600) at the free throw line, while Tulsa went 28-for-59 (.475) from the field, 6-for-25 (.240) from outside and 29-for-40 (.725) at the foul stripe while owning a 45-30 advantage on the glass.

The Green Wave outscored the Golden Hurricane, 48-40, in the paint, 21-12 off turnovers, 35-19 off the bench and 6-2 on the fast break, but were topped, 19-9, on second chances.

Tulane will remain on the road for its next matchup at Houston on Sunday, February 11. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (CT) at H&PE Arena on the campus of Texas Southern University and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

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