Tulane rolls to road win at Temple, 65-51

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PHILADELPHIA – K.J. Lawson filled up the box score and posted his first double-double of the season to lead the Tulane men’s basketball team to a convincing 65-51 American Athletic Conference road win at Temple on Saturday afternoon at the Liacouras Center.

Lawson compiled 16 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and a career-high six steals, while Jordan Walker and Teshaun Hightower tallied 17 points apiece. Hightower also chipped in six assists, matching his personal best.

Nobal Days made a heavy impact off the bench, recording six rebounds and a season-high three blocks.

It only took Tulane (10-6, 2-2 AAC) a couple possessions to settle in, before a Kevin Zhang floater and a Hightower three went down to draw even with Temple (9-6, 1-3 AAC) at five-all. The Green Wave’s defense rotated extremely well in the early going, keeping the Owls off balance and forcing them into rushed shots.

Meanwhile, the Wave operated effectively and efficiently at the offensive end, connecting on 10 of their first 18 shots, including three 3s, to build a 23-16 advantage with 8:35 left in the first half.

Despite Temple responding with a three, Tulane remained in rhythm and got a lift off the bench courtesy of a pair of Nic Thomas 3-pointers, as the Green Wave outscored the Owls, 12-5, over the final 5:29 to take a 35-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Tulane shot 15-for-30 (.500) from the field, 5-for-14 (.357) beyond the 3-point arc and missed their only free throw attempt, while holding Temple to just 8-for-27 (.296) from the field and 3-for-16 (.188) from outside. The Wave also outscored the Owls, 10-3, off turnovers and 18-6 in the paint in the period.

Temple came out of the break poised to lower its deficit by making its first two shots, but the Green Wave quickly responded when Lawson and Walker buried 3s on consecutive possessions to push their lead to double-digits for the first time, 41-28, with 17:17 remaining.

Those treys ignited a 14-2 scoring run for Tulane that continued with two more triples by Walker and Lawson to extend the lead to a game-high 19 points, forcing Temple to call timeout with 14:18 left.

The Green Wave’s defense remained stingy, as the Owls continued their unsuccessful efforts to establish a presence inside the painted area. Tulane kept the advantage in double-digits for a majority of the remainder of the game, but after a Lawson basket at 4:54, Temple rushed out on a 9-0 scoring run over the next three-plus minutes to pull within eight, before a Hightower free throw at 1:07 ended the surge.

The Owls tried to use fouls to stall the clock, but the Wave improved the lead back in double-digits before time expired.

Tulane finished the day shooting 24-for-54 (.444) overall, 9-for-25 (.360) beyond the 3-point arc and 8-for-12 (.667) at the free throw line, while Temple went just 17-for-54 (.315) from the floor and 5-for-24 (.208) from outside while making 12 of 18 (.667) at the foul stripe.

The Green Wave owned a 21-9 scoring advantage off turnovers while winning the turnover battle for the 15th time in 16 games this season, 18-15.

Tulane returns to New Orleans for the first of consecutive home games to host UCF on Tuesday, January 14. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the WatchESPN app.

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