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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Crowd storms court as Tulane tops Memphis in historic win

The end of Sunday’s game against the University of Memphis looked all too familiar to Green Wave basketball fans.

Tulane University led with just 2 points and 13 seconds left. The Tigers had the ball in the hands of their best player, David Jones, who had 32 points to go along with five 3-pointers. After his first 3-point attempt — at the five-second mark — rimmed out, Jones quickly had another chance as Sion James tipped the rebound straight back to him. As Jaylen Forbes soared up to make the contest, the crowd fell silent for a second and prepared for the possibility that recent history might repeat itself. 

Just 10 days before, the Green Wave was up 1 against the No. 24 ranked Florida Atlantic University Owls in the closing seconds. After a missed layup, James tipped the ball out to the Owls’ Alijiah Martin, who hoisted up a 3-pointer with just one second to go. Forbes leaped to make the contest, but he collided with Martin, causing the referee to blow the whistle to make the foul call. The ensuing free throws resulted in the Owls taking a 1-point lead and winning the game. 

In a situation that was described postgame by coach Ron Hunter as “almost deja vu,” luck sat on Tulane’s side. Forbes’ contest was perfect, blocking Jones’ shot and sealing a historic victory for the Green Wave. 

Experience, especially in close game situations, is a notable advantage for this Green Wave team. Four of Tulane’s five starters, who each played in over 30 of 40 available minutes, are upperclassmen. Half of Tulane’s games this season have been decided by 10 points or less

Tulane’s experience in the face of adversity came into play with just under 10 minutes left in the game. Memphis had gained momentum with a 7-point lead when Tulane’s lead scorer Kevin Cross committed his fourth foul. While the home crowd started to worry, coach Hunter stayed calm. He made the proper defensive adjustments to propel a comeback in which Tulane held the Tigers to just one field goal in the final seven minutes. 

“Our games seem to always be this way. We get down and come back,” coach Hunter said postgame, “That’s what this group does … we’re always going to fight.”

Leading Tulane was senior Cross, who set the tone offensively with 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. Cross had help from James, who finished with a season-high 22 points and six assists, while also putting up seven rebounds, not counting his tip at the end. Junior Collin Holloway also came up big for the Green Wave, putting up 13 points — including a go-ahead layup with 1:45 remaining straight into Memphis’ Malcoln Dandridge, who was wreaking havoc on the defensive end all night long. 

The culmination of years of experience and improvement, the victory over Memphis was one for the history books. The Green Wave had not beaten a ranked opponent since 1999, and not a top 10 since 1983. Once Forbes’ hand made contact with Jones’ shot, the long overdue celebration was on. Green Wave fans stormed on the court, jumping alongside the players whose hard work over the years had paid off, at least temporarily. 

The wave rolls on Wednesday against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who is 5-1 in conference play so far. The game is at 3:00 p.m. C.T. and broadcasted on ESPN U

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