Tulane Men’s Basketball falls at No. 11 Houston, 71-50

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HOUSTON – The Tulane men’s basketball team (6-3, 1-3 AAC) suffered a 71-50 setback to the No. 11-ranked Houston Cougars (10-1, 5-1 AAC) Saturday afternoon at the Fertitta Center.

The Green Wave’s matchup with Houston was their first game in seven days. The Green Wave’s trip to Houston also marked the first time this season Tulane faced a ranked opponent.

“I think Houston is better now than they were back when I coached against them in the NCAA tournament when I was at Georgia State,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Coach (Sampson) has got a team. He’s got a top-10 team in the country. I told our guys that this is the culture that we are trying to build. When I look at how to build a program this is what you have to catch.”

Redshirt junior Jordan Walker led all Tulane scorers with 13 points, as he connected on 4-of-11 shots from the field including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Ten of Walker’s 13 points came in the second half. Sophomore Jaylen Forbes also finished in double figures, as he poured in 11 points.

Redshirt freshman Tylan Pope led the way on the glass for the Green Wave, as he pulled down six rebounds.

Tulane struggled from the field as a team, connecting at a 28.8 percent clip, while Houston shot 44.3 percent. In the first half, the Cougars shot 53.8 percent from the field and hit at a 50 percent clip from beyond the arc.

Houston led for most of the game, but the Green Wave hung tough with the Cougars for most of the first half. Neither team led by more than six points for the opening 13 minutes of the game.

“I thought there were stretches where our kids played well,” Hunter said. “I’ve been around for a long time and that’s a really really good basketball team. I thought our gameplan was really solid and I thought we did a good job defensively.”

The Cougars held Tulane to just four points over the final five minutes of the first half to take a 12-point lead into the locker room (37-25). Forbes led the way for the Green Wave, as he poured in nine points in the first half.

In the second half, Tulane was unable to trim Houston’s lead below double digits, and the Cougars led by as many as 24 points in the second half.

Houston’s Marcus Sasser led the way for the Cougars, as he poured in a game-high 28 points, connecting on eight 3-pointers.

Up next for Tulane is another conference road matchup with the Green Wave headed north to take on Cincinnati on Saturday, January 16. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

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