Tulane comes close, leaves SMU’s undefeated record unmarred

Redshirt junior Malik Morgan goes in for a layup during Sunday’s matchup against SMU. Morgan finished the game with 10 points but could not lift the Green Wave past the undefeated Mustangs.

Mackenna Barker, Online Sports Editor

With 14 minutes left on the clock, senior guard Louis Dabney hit a 3-pointer to give the Wave the advantage over the No. 10 SMU Mustangs for the first time since the beginning minutes of the game. The lead was short lived, but the Wave (8-11, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) stuck with the undefeated SMU Mustangs (17-0, 6-0 AAC) right until the final minutes of the game, down just 7 with four minutes remaining. The Wave missed its window of opportunity for the major upset and ultimately fell 60-45 in Devlin Fieldhouse.

Sunday was not by any means the first game where the Wave’s inability to close out offensively has shown in the final score. Shooting an abysmal 29.2 percent on the day, the Wave knocked down just six baskets in the first half and eight in the second. Tulane’s play was also riddled with turnovers, losing the ball 20 times to the Mustangs.

Despite the offensive woes, Tulane managed to keep up with the Mustangs stride for stride as the Wave fared far better on the other end of the court. The Wave held the No. 4 team in the country in field-goal accuracy (52.1 percent) to a season low of 40.4 percent.

“It was anybody’s game, and they did a really good job and made some big-time defensive plays,” head coach Ed Conroy said. “We got the ball three straight times in really good spots on the floor and weren’t able to convert.”

Sophomore forward Dylan Osetkowski, who has been a frontcourt force for the Wave with seven double-doubles this season, was relatively absent on the boards Sunday afternoon, grabbing just four rebounds and putting up 8 points. Freshman forward Blake Paul led the Wave with seven rebounds.

Right from winning the tip for Tulane, freshman guard Melvin Frazier provided a competitive spark marked by athleticism for the Wave. Frazier led the team with 11 points, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk at the four minute mark to keep the Wave in the game until the end. Frazier grabbed an additional five boards and forced two turnovers.

The Wave next heads to Connecticut (12-5, 3-2 AAC) to take on the Huskies at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the XL Center.