Men’s Basketball falters in Tulsa, shocks Wichita State

Zachary Brandwein, Staff Writer

Courtesy of Parker Waters

After the 20-point loss the Green Wave suffered against the Houston Cougars on Jan. 17, the Green Wave were able to bounce back. Tulane faced the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes in an important American Athletic Conference matchup. 

Entering this game, Tulane was 12-6 and one of the top teams in the AAC, while Tulsa had yet to win a game against an AAC opponent. After the first half Tulane was down one point thanks to a jumper from RJ McGee with 10 seconds left in the half. 

With 48 seconds left in the second half, Jalen Cook hit two free throws to extend the Tulane lead to four. A quick Tulsa layup cut the deficit in half just five seconds later, and the scoring stalled until Tulsa hit another layup to tie the game with 18 seconds left. With the game on the line, Jalen Cook attempted a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left, but ultimately missed, sending the game to overtime. 

The Green Wave were able to hold the Hurricane to just two for six shooting during the extra time, but Tulsa was able to capitalize on their free throws for the first time in the game, shooting 66% from the line, compared to their 35.7% during the first two halves. With Tulsa up by 2 with 5 seconds remaining, the Golden Hurricanes thought the game was over when Cook turned the ball over. However, the Tulsa player traveled with the ball while celebrating. This gave Tulane one final chance, but Jadan Coleman’s desperation catch and shoot 3-point heave over a double team harmlessly hit the backboard. Tulsa were therefore able to survive the late scare with a 81-79 victory.

Although the game ended with a loss, there was great individual effort from the Green Wave. Both Tylan Pope and Sion James were one rebound away from a double-double, Collin Hollaway had 11 points and eight rebounds, while Jalen Cook led the way with 23 points, six assists and four rebounds. 

After the heartbreaker against Tulsa, the Green Wave traveled to Kansas to take on Wichita State Shockers, another AAC opponent. Going into this game, Wichita State had a 9-10 record as well as a 3-4 record in the AAC. After dropping their last game against Tulsa, Tulane needed a statement win to gain some more traction in the AAC standings. 

Wichita State was able to capitalize on their opponent’s previous defeat, outscoring Tulane 48-35 in the first half. Wichita State shot 51.5% from the field, 46.6% from deep and 70% from the free throw line, while Tulane shot 45.5%-16.67%-37.5%. 

Although they did not play up to par in the first half, the visitors were able to turn the game around coming out of the locker room. Tulane shocked their opponents by scoring 39 in the second half, improving their shooting splits to 48.2%-50%-80%. The Green Wave also clamped down defensively, only allowing 26 points and limiting the hosts to a shocking 31.3%-26.3%-50%. 

Near the end of the game, Sion James scored a 3-point play, converting a free throw after a dunk to give Tulane a three point lead with 21 seconds left, but a Wichita State 3-pointer tied the game at 74 with 10 seconds left, sending the game into overtime as well. Not wanting a repeat of their previous game, Tulane shocked the hosts in overtime, and they held the lead all the way through. Although both teams played well in the extra time, Tulane only missed two shots and went perfect from the free throw line to secure the 95-90 win. 

Tulane had five of six players play double-digit minutes and score at least 10 points, highlighted by Jaylen Forbes’ 25. Jalen Cook scored 20 points, as well as led the team with nine rebounds and six assists.

Tulane returns home for a midweek matchup against the SMU Mustangs before traveling upriver to play the Memphis Tigers on the weekend.

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