Tulane Men’s Basketball Hosts UCF in Search of Series Split on ESPN2

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NEW ORLEANS — The Tulane men’s basketball team returns to the court for its first home game since Feb. 7 following three straight road contests and a six-day hiatus to host UCF in an American Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday, February 20. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m., at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.

The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 as Mike Corey delivers play-by-play of all the action and Mark Adams provides color analysis.

STARTING FIVE
1. Tulane seeks an American Athletic Conference regular season series split with UCF for the second year in a row, as the teams face off for the second time in eight days. 

2. Last time out, Tulane completed a stretch of three-straight road games with a 62-59 road win at USF on Sunday, February 14. Jaylen Forbes scored a game-high 19 points, reaching double-figures for the 15th time in 17 games. Kevin Cross scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, while Gabe Watson added 10 more. The Green Wave outscored the Bulls, 24-9, off turnovers despite being outrebounded, 41-25.

3. As of Feb. 18, the Green Wave rank No. 24 nationally in scoring defense, as they surrender just 62.8 points per game this season. That number places them second in The American behind only No. 2 Houston (57.3) and ahead of No. 27 Memphis (62.9) and No. 41 Tulsa (63.9).

4. Tulane has won the turnover battle in 14 of its 17 contests this season while also forcing opponents into at least 15 mishaps on nine occasions. Last season, the Green Wave committed equal or fewer turnovers than its opponents in 28 of 30 contests while ranking in the top 15 nationally in turnover margin (+4.3).

5. Tulane currently ranks first in The American in free throw percentage (.775), turnover margin (+3.9) and fewest turnovers per game (11.4). On the national scale, the Green Wave rank in the top 50 in all three categories as well as fewest fouls per game (15.8).

BY THE NUMBERS
•  3 – Tulane has won three American Athletic Conference road games by double digits under second year head coach Ron Hunter dating back to last season. Wednesday’s 58-48 win at Tulsa was the second this season after the 81-64 win at Temple on Jan. 31.
•  20 -Tulane currently ranks 20th among all NCAA Division I teams in free throw percentage this season. As of February 18, the Green Wave are shooting 77.5 percent at the charity stripe.
•  221 – Tulane has made at least one 3-point field goal in 221 consecutive games. The last time the Green Wave failed to do so occurred on January 16, 2014 at home against Louisiana Tech when they shot 0-for-14 from outside.

SCOUTING UCF
•  The Knights (7-10, 5-11 AAC) enter Saturday’s game with a 1-1 record in their last two games since facing the Green Wave, including a one-point road loss at Cincinnati followed by an 81-65 home win over USF on Feb. 17.
•  Picked eighth in The American Preseason Coaches’ Poll, UCF is led by Darius Perry’s 14.4 points per game, while Brandon Mahan is scoring 13.6 per contest. Mahan is also second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.449).
•  The Knights rank second in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.356) and fourth in free throw percentage (.719) and steals per game (6.6), but are 10th in scoring margin (-3.6) and last in rebounding (33.6) and assists per game (11.4).
•  UCF owns a 17-4 lead in the all-time series over Tulane including a 9-2 record in games played in New Orleans.

LAST TIME THEY MET – FEBRUARY 12, 2021
Tulane led by as many as eight points in the second half, but cold shooting down the stretch allowed UCF to close the gap and upend the Green Wave, 53-49, in Orlando. Jaylen Forbes and Jordan Walker led the Wave with 14 points each, as Forbes grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Walker handed out five assists. Darin Green Jr. led UCF with a game-high 18 points and made six 3-pointers, while Darius Perry chipped in 14 points. Tulane scored a season-low 19 second-half points in the contest.

AAC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
• Tulane redshirt freshman forward Tylan Pope was named American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week by the league office on Monday, Feb. 1. Pope averaged 12.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting over 56 percent from the field in a 1-1 week for the Green Wave. He recorded his second double-double of the season by matching his personal best with 12 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and two blocks in Tulane’s 81-64 road win over Temple on Jan. 31. On Jan. 28, the Franklinton, Louisiana native tallied 12 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench against No. 6 Houston.

AAC WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
• Tulane sophomore Jaylen Forbes earned a spot on the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll four times this season on Nov. 30, Jan. 4, Feb. 1 and Feb. 15. The first came after averaging 15.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in a a pair of wins over Lamar and Lipscomb. The second time came after his 20-point performance that led the Green Wave to a league home win over ECU. He then added his third honor after scoring a career-high 23 points in the win at Temple.
• Redshirt junior Jordan Walker has been named to the Weekly Honor Roll twice this season (Dec. 14 and Feb. 8) and four times in his career. 

FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA
For behind-the-scenes coverage, follow Tulane men’s basketball (@GreenWaveMBB) on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

{Courtesy: Press Release from Tulane Athletics}

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