Tulane drops heartbreaker at home to Cincinnati, 64-61
NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane men’s basketball team led by as many as seven points in the second half, but Cincinnati escaped with a 64-61 win in American Athletic Conference action Sunday afternoon at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Jaylen Forbes led all Green Wave players with 15 points, while redshirt junior Jordan Walker added 13 points, four assists and three steals. Redshirt freshman Tylan Pope scored in double-figures for the fourth straight game with 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Tulane (7-7, 2-7 AAC) committed a season-high 17 turnovers despite forcing the Bearcats in 18 of their own and were outscored, 21-6, off the bench.
The Green Wave got out to a quick start by scoring the first five points of the game on a layup by Walker and a 3-pointer by Sion James, and despite Cincinnati (5-7, 3-4 AAC) tying the game at seven-all, a 3-pointer by Forbes gave the Green Wave the lead back.
A second-chance layup by Forbes at the 13-minute mark pushed the Wave in front, 14-8, but Cincinnati responded with a 12-1 scoring run to take a 20-15 lead with 7:39 left in the first half. The Bearcats kept the advantage for the remainder of the period, but the Green Wave cut the deficit to just two, 31-29, at halftime.
Tulane shot 9-of-24 (.375) from the field, 2-for-6 (.333) beyond the 3-point arc and 9-of-10 (.900) at the free throw line in the first half, while Cincinnati shot 12-of-26 (.462) overall, 2-of-9 (.222) from outside and 5-of-7 (.714) at the foul stripe. The Green Wave also forced the Bearcats into 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
In a second half that featured eight lead changes and seven ties Tulane used momentum early in the period. Layups by Forbes and Walker in between a pair of Bearcats turnovers gave the Green Wave the lead, 33-31, as Cincinnati called timeout with 18:02 remaining.
The Wave began to take control of the tempo midway through the half, opening up a 50-43 lead thanks to a three-point play by Kevin Cross and a James layup at the 9:57 mark. The Bearcats scored seven unanswered points from that moment however to tie the game with 7:42 left.
Tulane pulled ahead by three after a pair of free throws by Cross with 6:08 to go and that proved to be the widest scoreboard margin in favor of either team the rest of the way.
The score was tied at 55, 58 and again at 60 after a tip-in by sophomore R.J. McGee with 2:10 left, and the Green Wave led, 61-60, with 1:17 remaining after Forbes made the second of two free throws.
Turnovers and multiple missed shot attempts proved to be the difference for Tulane, as Cincinnati pulled ahead on a basket in the paint with 43 second to go.
The Green Wave had the ball for a final shot, but Walker’s attempt from inside the arc along the wing was off the mark, before the Bearcats came down with the rebound and were fouled with 0.9 second to go. Two free throws iced the victory.
Keith Williams led Cincinnati with a game-high 20 points on 9-of-21 shooting, while Tari Eason chipped in 13 points off the bench. David DeJulius scored 12 points with seven rebounds and four assists.
Up next, Tulane sets out for three road games in five days beginning with a Feb. 10 matchup at Tulsa at 4 p.m., before heading to UCF on Feb. 12 for a 6 p.m. matchup. The Green Wave close out the week at USF on Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. All three games will be broadcast on ESPN+.
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