So Close: Tulane’s Comeback Stopped by Memphis

NEW ORLEANS, LA (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane men’s basketball team outscored Memphis by 11 in the second half as a valiant comeback effort came up short, 83-79, in American Athletic Conference action Sunday evening at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.

Freshman Kevin Zhang scored a season-high 25 points in his third 20-point effort of the season, while senior Blake Paul had a career day, registering his first career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds – both personal bests – to go with three blocks off the bench.

Sophomore Caleb Daniels also reached double-figures with 12 points and five boards.

Tigers’ guard Jeremiah Martin led all scorers with 27 points, five rebounds and three steals, as Kyvon Davenport chipped in 17 points. Raynere Thornton added 12 points and eight rebounds.

Memphis (11-6, 3-1 AAC) built its largest lead of the game – 18 points – just over two minutes into the second half on a three-point play by Davenport.

The Tigers held a double-digit advantage for the first 15 minutes of the second half, and after a Thornton layup at the 6:30 mark made it 74-62, Tulane (4-12, 0-4 AAC) exploded with 10 straight points, thanks to some extraordinary efforts on the defensive glass by Paul and a pair of buckets of his own on the offensive end.

A pair of Jordan Cornish free throws, followed by the finish on a tough layup at the 2:50 mark brought the Green Wave within a pair, 74-72.

Tulane had multiple chances to tie the game, and despite an NBA-range 3-pointer by Daniels with 17 seconds remaining cutting the deficit to a pair, 81-79, the Wave were unable to execute on a late possession after two free throws by Martin.

Memphis put an early emphasis on pushing the pace with transition offense, racing out to a 22-9 lead in the first seven minutes of play.

Tulane pulled within six of the Tigers, 40-34, following six consecutive defensive stops, but Memphis countered with a 9-0 scoring run to close the period and to put its advantage back into double digits at halftime.

The Green Wave shot 11-for-35 (.314) overall, 1-for-11 (.091) beyond the 3-point arc and 11-for-15 (.733) at the free throw line in the first half, while Memphis went 17-for-33 (.515) from the field, 6-for-13 (.462) from outside and made nine of 14 (.643) free throws.

Tulane will have six days between games before heading to Storrs, Conn., for a Saturday night matchup at UConn. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT)

Article Courtesy of Tulane Sports Information Department.