SMU takes advantage of Wave’s poor second half shooting, downs Tulane 66-52

Alec Freudenstein, Staff Reporter

It was a tale of two halves for Tulane men’s basketball (13-6, 4-3) who fell to the Southern Methodist Mustangs (15-4, 6-2) 66-52 Wednesday night in Devlin Fieldhouse, after only trailing by three points at halftime.

The Mustangs, led by Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown, won its No. 5 game in a row, despite recent setbacks that included the loss of McDonalds All-American Keith Frazier and a looming academic improprieties investigation from the NCAA Notice of Allegations.

These setbacks, combined with the largest Tulane fan turnout since 2003, Wednesday night seemed like the perfect recipe for a Green Wave upset. 

Tulane came out of the gates strong in the first half, out-rebounding the Mustangs 20-17, including 4 offensive rebounds from senior forward Tre Drye. After an ally-oop by redshirt sophomore guard Kajon Mack in the final minute of the first half that sent Devlin Fieldhouse into a frenzy, Tulane appeared poised to make the upset.

The second half, however, was a different story. The Mustangs out-rebounded the Green Wave 24-10, and shot 50% from the field compared to the Wave’s 27%.

“We got down on defense, and we weren’t executing right,” junior guard Louis Dabney said. “[SMU] didn’t do anything differently on offense, we just didn’t execute.”  

SMU’s tough defense held Dabney to just 8 shots for the game.

The first minutes in the second half were crucial in the shift of momentum in the game.

“Coming out of halftime, I thought the first 5 minutes of the second half [SMU] really got us on the boards,” head coach Ed Conroy said. “They got us in some foul trouble on the first few possession, and I thought that really foreshadowed how the whole second half would be played.”

The Mustang’s Brown acknowledged that this game was not an easy one for his team.

“I’m thankful we had three days to prepare because I don’t think you can play against [Tulane] without a lot of preparation,” Brown said. “They can space the floor, they execute. I liked [Tulane] a lot. They’re young, and I think their program is going in the right direction.”

The Wave will look to bounce back in American Athletic Conference play against Memphis next at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Smoothie King Center.