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John Scimeca

Tulane turned in a dismal first half performance againstConference USA opponent SMU Wednesday night at Fogelman Arena,mustering only 17 points and making only 7 of 27 shots from thefield. After halftime, however, the Green Wave (14-6, 2-4 C-USA)scored 63 points and came from behind to defeat the Mustangs 80-74for the squad’s second straight victory.

Freshman Ricky Tarrant was the star of the show – scoring 33points, including 26 in the second half. His career-high scoringtotal marked the most points ever scored by a Tulane freshman,breaking the previous high of 32 set by Anthony Reed in 1989.Tarrant also added four rebounds, three assists and threesteals.

“The coaches told us at halftime just to continue to play hardand the shots would start falling,” Tarrant said. “That’s what wedid, and they did. I’m very happy.”

Tulane used a more aggressive approach offensively against SMU’szone defense in the second half and also shot significantly betterby sinking 9-of-14 3-pointers after intermission. In the firsthalf, the Green Wave made only 1-of-15 from beyond the arc. Inaddition, Tulane made 18-of-29 shots from the field for a sizzling62.1 percent.

“There is a lot of credit to go around in that locker room,” headcoach Ed Conroy said. “We are experienced, and we have a long wayto go. SMU chopped us up at times on the offensive end, but thebottom line is that we have some really competitive guys in thatlocker room, and they rose up and knew what we needed to getdone.”

The hard-fought win represents an important step for Tulane,which has lost juniors Kendall Timmons and Tomas Bruha to injuries.Junior guard Jordan Callahan added 16 points and five assists, andsophomore forward Josh Davis contributed his 14th double-double ofthe season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman forward TreDrye made his first start of the season as well, totaling fourpoints and eight rebounds in the win.

Forward Robert Nyakundi led the Mustangs (10-10, 2-4) with 26points in the losing effort, helping SMU control the game until12:30 remained, when Tulane seized its first lead at 44-43. Theboisterous student section helped fuel the team’s effort, andbuoyed the announced crowd of 2,334.

Tulane next travels to Houston to face Rice 7 p.m. Saturday, afterthe Owls defeated Tulane 50-49 last week on a buzzer-beater atFogelman.