Tulane Men’s Basketball Sets Sight on Road Matchup at USF on ESPNU

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HOUSTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 09: Jordan Walker #2 of the Tulane Green Wave controls the ball during the second half of a game against the Houston Cougars at Fertitta Center on January 09, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane men’s basketball team plays its fifth American Athletic Conference road game in its last six at USF on Sunday, February 14. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m., at Yuengling Arena.

The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU as Robert Ford delivers play-by-play of all the action and Robbie Hummel provides color analysis.

STARTING FIVE
1. Tulane (8-8, 3-8 AAC) makes another quick turnaround to play its third road game in five days in its first regular-season meeting against USF. The Green Wave have won four of their last five road games against the Bulls since both schools joined the American Athletic Conference prior to the 2014-15 season.
2. On Friday evening in Orlando, 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. Jaylen Forbes and Jordan Walker led the Green Wave with 14 points each, as Forbes grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Walker handed out five assists. The Wave scored a season-low 19 points in the second half, as UCF shot 10-of-25 (.400) from 3-point range.
3. As of Feb. 13, the Green Wave rank No. 29 nationally in scoring defense, as they surrender just 63.1 points per game this season. That number places them third in The American behind only No. 2 Houston (57.3) and No. 27 Memphis (62.9).
4. Tulane has won the turnover battle in 13 of its 16 contests this season while also forcing opponents into at least 15 mishaps on eight 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 (.788), turnover margin (+3.7) 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.
•  11 -Tulane currently ranks 11th among all NCAA Division I teams in free throw percentage this season. As of February 13, the Green Wave are shooting 78.8 percent at the charity stripe.
•  220 – Tulane has made at least one 3-point field goal in 220 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 USF
•  The Bulls (7-6, 3-4 AAC) enter Sunday’s contest coming off an 82-65 home loss to Houston on Feb. 10. That was their first game played since Jan. 9 following seven consecutive postponements due to COVID-related issues.
•  Picked fifth in The American Preseason Coaches’ Poll, USF is led by senior guard David Collins who is averaging 12.7 points, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 46 percent beyond the 3-point arc. Collins ranks eighth in assists and third in steals, while Michael Durr ranks fourth in the league in rebounds per game (8.0) and Xavier Casteneda stands fourth in 3-point percentage (.448).
•  As a team, the Bulls rank fourth in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.346) and rebounding (38.5) and fifth in overall field goal percentage (.426). However, USF is last in free throw percentage (.617) and turnover margin (-1.8).
•  USF trails Tulane, 21-17, in the all-time series. but has won four of the last five meetings. Sunday will mark the 19th all-time matchup between the programs in Tampa with both teams owning nine wins at the competition site.

TULANE-USF CONNECTIONS:
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Green Wave head coach Ron Hunter and Bulls head coach Brian Gregory both led programs in Atlanta in the last decade. Hunter guided Georgia State from 2011-19, while Gregory did the same at Georgia Tech from 2011-16, but the schools never faced one another during their respective tenures. They first coached against one another in December 2003 when Hunter was at IUPUI while Gregory was in his first year at Dayton. The Flyers won, 61-59, in Dayton.

LAST TIME THEY MET – JANUARY 29, 2020
Christion Thompson finished with a game-high 18 points, but Tulane suffered a 66-52 home loss to USF in the lone regular-season meeting between the programs. Joining Thompson in double-figures was Nic Thomas who closed with 11 points. USF shot 64 percent from the floor in the second half and outrebounded the Green Wave by a 40-19 count. David Collins and Laquincy Rideau paced the Bulls with 14 points apiece, as Collins also added eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

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 three times this season on Nov. 30, Jan. 4 and Feb. 1. 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. 

{Press release courtesy of Tulane Athletics}

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