Despite having the lead for the first 30 minutes, the Green Wave (4-13, 1-4 American Athletic Conference) ultimately fell to 19th-ranked Southern Methodist (23-4, 13-1 AAC) 80-75 Wednesday at the Moody Coliseum in Dallas.
SMU had five players score in double digits and shot 18-for-32 from the field in the second half and had a 40-22 scoring advantage in the paint.
Tulane had standout plays and redshirt junior guard Cameron Reynolds scored a game high with 23 points, five 3-pointers and eight rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Malik Morgan scored 18 points, six board, six assists and two blocks. Sophomore guard Melvin Frazier had the seven assists, surpassing all players while freshman guard Ray Ona Embo added 12 points to the Wave’s overall 75.
The Green Wave had an early 10-5 lead, making four of their first five shots, but it was not able to keep the Mustangs from catching up, tying the game at 15. Once the game was tied, the Wave fought to regain its advantage and went on a 10-0 run, having a 25-15 advantage. The Wave kept a double-digit lead over SMU for the remainder of the first half, going into halftime 42-27.
“I feel like we’ve been making a lot of progress, and in the first half, it showed …” sophomore guard Kain Harris said in an interview with NOLA.com.
Early in the second half, Tulane continued to sink shots, but soon their advantage came to an end. Once in a lull, the Mustangs took advantage of the situation and went on an 18-2 run and took the lead for the first time. With just under ten minutes left, the Wave was down 60-56.
In the final two minutes of the game, SMU boosted their lead to 77-68. Tulane fought back scoring four points leaving the score 79-75 with one minute left of regulation. The game did not go into overtime and the Mustangs held onto their lead in the closest scoring game the Wave has had in recent matchups ultimately surpassing Tulane 80-75.
“It was a tale of two halves for us,” head coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. said in an interview with NOLA.com. “I really thought we did a pretty nice job in the first half … I thought [in] the second half, unfortunately, there were a lot of missed coverages that turned into easy buckets for them.”
The Green Wave next plays South Florida at 1 p.m. Saturday at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse. The team is in search of a regular-season sweep of the Knights. This matchup will be televised on ESPNews.