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Alex Smolokoff

The Memphis Tigers (19-7, 9-2) proved too much for host Tulane(15-10, 3-8) Wednesday night, defeating the Green Wave 82-64. Theloss marks Tulane’s fourth in five games, illustrating the Wave’scontinual struggles in Conference USA play.

The game was much closer than the score indicated, however, asTulane kept up with the favored Tigers until the final fiveminutes. Memphis began the game with a full-court press of the Waveoffense, making it difficult for the smaller Tulane players topenetrate the lane. Sharp jumpshooting kept the Wave in the game,though, as Tulane led for much of the first half. The Wave led athalftime, 33-32, relying on fast transition play and good shootingagainst the much bigger Memphis defense.

Both teams came out surging to start the second half, and thetwo teams traded baskets quickly. A Jordan Callahan 3-pointer,capped by a hard chest pump, forced a Memphis timeout with 15minutes to play, with the Wave leading by two. That timeout,however, proved pivotal for the Tigers.

Following the timeout, Memphis switched to a restricting zonedefense, using size and length to keep Tulane out of rhythm onoffense. Settling for long jump shots, as well as a few sloppyturnovers, led to a big Memphis run, and the Tigers took an11-point lead with 10 minutes to play. A quick run allowed Tulaneto cut the lead as little as five, but the Wave never got closer. A3-pointer by sophomore guard Chris Crawford gave Memphis a 69-57lead, and the Tigers never looked back.

“Credit Memphis tonight,” Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said.”They did a really good job in their zone, and they were veryactive. We defended well, but it is those points that you can’tdefend when they get those live ball turnovers. They areoutstanding in transition.”

The story of this game was size, as the Green Wave was neverable to get an inside game going against the larger Memphisdefenders. Tulane was plagued by its 20 turnovers, including 13Memphis steals. The Wave also appeared unprepared for the Tigers’zone defense, considering how the entire offense stalled for thefinal 10 minutes.

Freshman guard Ricky Tarrant led the Tulane offense with 20points, including four 3-pointers. Sophomore forward Josh Davis (19points and 9 rebounds) and junior guard Jordan Callahan (12 points)also scored in double figures. Sophomore Will Barton’s 20 pointsled Memphis, which had five double-digit scorers of its own. TheWave will look to rebound from the loss Saturday, when it travelsto take on UAB.

 

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