Tulane basketball closes out successful regular season

Max Yazdian, Contributing Reporter

Since we last covered the team, the Tulane Green Wave played five conference games, winning two and losing three. They finished the regular season with a 13-14 record and a 10-8 record in conference play. This was Tulane’s best finish under head coach Ron Hunter and was good enough to earn the fifth seed in the upcoming American Athletic Conference tournament.

They began this stretch with a 19-point thrashing of the University of South Florida. Jaylen Forbes had a great night, scoring 22 points while shooting the lights out from beyond the arc. This was the second time they beat USF by double digits this year, completing the season sweep.   

Next up, 14th-ranked University of Houston came to New Orleans in what was arguably the biggest game of the year for the Green Wave. Fogelman Arena at Devlin Fieldhouse was absolutely electric with a packed student section. 

From the moment the Green Wave stepped on the court, it was clear that they were not scared of Houston and felt that they could compete with the defending AAC tournament champions. They went toe to toe with them for most of the first half, taking the lead with two minutes left in the half. However, that was sadly their last lead of the game, as Houston was able to take control midway through the second half. 

Tulane fought till the end and never let the game get out of hand. The starters held their own, but the bench was unable to step up, scoring just 3 total points. Even in a loss, it was clear that Tulane has taken a step as a program and is on the doorstep of being able to compete with the elite teams in the AAC. 

After an emotional loss, Tulane had another tough game against Temple University just four days later. The game was close throughout, as neither team could create much separation on the scoreboard. The Green Wave had a chance to tie the game late but were unable to and eventually fell 75-70. It was a rough shooting day for the Green Wave, as they only shot 34% from the field. Forbes was one of the few bright spots, as he dropped 19 points to continue his hot streak.  

Next up was Senior Night against the University of Central Florida. Before the game, Sandy Ryan, Quentin Scott and Scott Spencer were honored in a great Senior Night ceremony. In arguably the story of the night, Sandy Ryan, a current walk-on and former manager for the team, scored the first points of his Tulane career. Devlin erupted when the basket went in, and you could not help but crack a smile for him. 

On the court, Tulane was missing star guard Jalen Cook, who was out with a hamstring injury. In his absence, the Green Wave were able to put forth a balanced scoring effort, with four of five starters scoring double-digit points. The final score was 82-67, as the Green Wave were able to give the Senior Class one final home victory.

Lastly, the Green Wave headed to SMU for their regular-season finale. SMU is one of the top teams in the conference, and this was a great test for the team before the AAC tournament begins. Even as a large underdog, the Green Wave were able to hang with SMU and had a chance to take the lead with under a minute remaining. SMU hit their free throws down the stretch and escaped with a narrow win. Despite the loss, it was another great measuring stick of just how far the team has come over the course of this year and gave hope that this team can make a real run in the upcoming tournament.

From the product on the floor to the fans in the arena, it was clear that this regular season was a huge stepping stone for the program. Hunter is building something special, and I would not be surprised if we see the Green Wave in the NCAA Tournament as soon as next year.