Wave falls in home opener to No. 6 UNC 95-75

Josh Rothstein, Contributing Reporter [email protected]

The Tulane men’s basketball team (0-1, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) tipped off it’s season on Friday night at the Smoothie King Center in downtown New Orleans against No. 6 University of North Carolina (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), falling short to the Tar Heels 95-75.

A ranked opponent presented a tough initial challenge for first-year head coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. and his team, who entered the game as 21-point underdogs. UNC soon proved itself as a strong adversary as it scored with and continued to build a lead through the first half. 

The team would come close to regaining the lead when it trailed 20-19 with 8:44 to go in the first half after a three-pointer from redshirt junior forward Cameron Reynolds. The Tar Heels would go on to score 17 points in the final five minutes of the half, however, and lead the Wave 46-32 at halftime.

Tulane would keep better pace with the Tar Heels during the second half, only being outscored by six points in the second half as opposed to fourteen in the first. In spite of its efforts, it wasn’t enough to overcome UNC as the team allowed the Tar Heels to shoot 49.3 percent from the field and 45 percent from the three-point range.

“We all played with great effort,” Reynolds said. “It’s just the little things we have to correct, and we can compete with anybody.”

Reynolds led the Green Wave offense in scoring, shooting a career-high 21 points and shooting five three-pointers in six attempts. He was 7-of-15 overall for shooting from the floor. Freshman guard Colin Slater and sophomore guard Kain Harris also scored in the double-digits with 14 and 15 points, respectively. Senior center Ryan Smith set a career high on the night with 8 rebounds.

Foul trouble hurt the Wave, as it allowed UNC to go 18-for-25 on free throws. At one point during the game, a fan threw a toy basketball on the court. This incident not only stopped the game, but the refs gave Tulane a technical foul, and UNC was awarded with a free-throw attempt.

“Every night, our goal is to outwork the team for a full 40 minutes,” Dunleavy said. “You have to be disciplined. If you want to have a chance of…upsetting somebody, you have to play a full 40 minutes of discipline, and we didn’t do that.”

The Green Wave will return to its home court at 7 p.m. on Monday to take on the Southeastern Louisiana Lions at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.