NEW ORLEANS — Last year, Tulane men’s basketball entered conference play with a 7-4 record in a year the Green Wave saw 20 wins and an American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal finish.

Another run to the top of the AAC standings starts with a strong showing in the early weeks of the season.

“We felt we were an NCAA Tournament team last year and we let three of these games get away and that’s something we can’t do this year. There were three games we felt in November that we should have won. We had the lead, we should have won those games, regardless if we were hurt or not, regardless of who played. And that’s kind of the focus of this group right now is taking care of business in November, says Tulane head men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter.

Friday’s game against Sacramento State will mark Jaylen Forbes’ second of the year as Tulane’s all-conference performer continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury suffered nearly two weeks ago.

In Forbes’ 2023 regular season debut, he scored just 6 points, shooting 1 of 7 from the field in 25 minutes of action.

“He looks a lot better. He’s moving better, he’s feeling better. I thought in the game he was fairly hesitant in that regard. The last couple of practices he’s been diving for loose balls, he’s really been able to explode. We’re watching how much he practices also, but I think that he’s getting to the point where he’s getting close to 100 percent,” said Hunter.

Last year, Jaylen Forbes became Tulane’s single-season record holder for three-pointers made and his return to full health would significantly boost Tulane’s shooting beyond the arc.

The Wave are shooting just 21 percent (9/44) from three in their first two contests.

Tulane has managed wins over Nicholls and Northwestern State thanks to their defensive effort and offensive depth.

Four players are currently averaging 12 points per game or more led by Kevin Cross with 20.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per night as well as sophomore St. John’s transfer Kolby King who leads the Green Wave in scoring after week one.

King is averaging 21 points per game. You may remember he was Tulane’s top weapon in their bronze finish at the World University Games.

Tulane is back in action Friday night when they host Sacramento State at 6 p.m.