CINCINNATI (WGNO) — The Tulane University men’s basketball team opened 2022 on a high note, as it picked up a hard-fought 68-60 win over the University of Cincinnati on Saturday night inside Fifth Third Arena.
With the win, Tulane improved to 2-0 to start league play for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign. The Green Wave’s win at Cincinnati was Tulane’s first since a 50-49 win over the Bearcats back in 2015.
“I’m just really really proud of our kids,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Over the last couple of days, we’ve really just started to see things come together. We just have to keep it going. You are starting to see a confident basketball team right now and that’s the part that I’m enjoying right now.”
The win also served as Tulane’s largest margin of victory at Cincinnati since the Green Wave defeated the Bearcats 70-59 back on Feb. 23, 1991.
“It’s always a process,” Hunter said. “We talked when we were 3-6 and everybody thought we were a terrible basketball team and I thought we were the best 3-6 team in the country. We’re starting reap the rewards of all the things we went through earlier in the year.”
Freshman guard Jalen Cook scored 20-or-more points for the fifth time this season, as he netted a game-high 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He also drilled three 3-pointers.
Joining Cook in double figures were teammates Jaylen Forbes and Kevin Cross, as they finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Cross also pulled down eight rebounds, but freshman Sion James led the way with nine rebounds.
Tulane came out firing in the early going, as it opened up a 48-25 lead in the first half. The Green Wave shot an eye-popping 64 percent from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes and connected on nine three-pointers.
The Green Wave led by as many as 26 points in the first half and only trailed for 3:01 in the opening 20 minutes. The 26-point first half lead tied the team’s season-best lead this year (Alcorn State – Dec. 4).
In the second half, Tulane’s hot shooting cooled, as they were held to just 19 percent shooting from the field.
Cincinnati fought all the way back to trim Tulane’s lead to seven with 58 seconds to go (63-56), but the Green Wave held off the Bearcats to secure the win by scoring five of the final nine points.
The Green Wave never lost the lead in the second half and led by double digits for 29 of the game’s 40 minutes.
Tulane finished the night by shooting 38 percent as a team and finished with just 10 turnovers which equaled Cincinnati’s 10 miscues.
-Tulane has now defeated Memphis and Cincinnati in the same season for the first time since the 1990-91 season.
-Head coach Ron Hunter picked up his first career win at Cincinnati and moved to 2-3 all-time against the Bearcats.
-Tulane’s matchup against Cincinnati marked the Green Wave’s seventh opponent with a record of .500-or-better.
-The Green Wave had three-or-more players score in double figures for the ninth time this year.
-Tulane guard Jaylen Forbes made his 33rd straight start.
-Tulane’s eight-point win over Cincinnati was just the third game this season that has been decided by five-points or more.
-The Green Wave made a 3-pointer for the 237th straight game.