GAME NOTES: Hoping to continue their ascension up the Conference USA ladder, the Tulane Green Wave visit the Rice Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse on Saturday night.
After beating SMU last Saturday, 78-67, Tulane is seeking its fourth win in the last five outings. The team sits in seventh place in the conference standings with a 5-6 record, a half-game behind East Carolina and Tulsa for fifth. The Green Wave also sits just two games out of third-place with five games left in the regular season. Tulane is 1-4 on the road against league foes this season.
The Owls have lost five in a row, most recently getting blown out on the road by UAB, 80-57, last Saturday night. Rice sits in last place in the league standings, two games behind SMU. Rice is just 1-4 at home in conference battles.
This bout marks the 50th meeting between these two schools, and Tulane owns a slim 25-24 series lead, including the 73-66 victory in New Orleans back on Jan. 26. Rice had won three straight over the Green Wave before that game and owns a 16-7 advantage in games played in Houston.
Ricky Tarrant dropped in 25 points and dished out six assists as the Green Wave dismissed the SMU Mustangs in their last outing. Tarrant shot 7-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Jordan Callahan was also stellar from beyond the arc (6-of-12) on his way to 20 points, while Josh Davis tacked on 15 points and seven rebounds.
Davis leads Tulane with 17.5 ppg and a conference-best 9.9 rpg. Tarrant adds 15.5 points and a team-high 3.2 assists per contest, while Callahan averages 10.9 ppg. The Green Wave are averaging 67.0 ppg and allowing just 61.6 ppg, good enough for third in the C-USA. They have trouble with their accuracy, shooting just 41.6 percent from the field, with only Rice worse in the league.
Tamir Jackson finished with 21 points while shooting 9-of-16 from the floor for Rice as it fell to UAB the last time out, and Julian DeBose was the only other Owl to score in double figures with 10 points while shooting 3-of-10 from the field. The Owls defense allowed the Blazers to shoot 50 percent on the night, and they were outscored beyond the arc, 33-9.
Jackson ranks fifth in the league with 16.2 ppg and 16th overall with 5.9 rpg. Austin Ramljak's 2.2 3-pointers per game is the fifth-highest average in the conference. DeBose chips in with 10.0 ppg. As a unit, the Owls are statistically the worst team in the conference, sitting at the bottom in several categories, including scoring offense (60.0 ppg), scoring margin (-9.7), field goal percentage (.400), field goal defense (.486), 3-point field goal defense (.363), rebounding (25.9 rpg), rebounding margin (-11.2), blocked shots (1.2 bpg) and assists (11.04 apg). The Owls do rank second in C-USA in 3-pointers per game and turnover margin, while the squad is also the leagues third-best free-throw shooting team.
Tulane has been playing well and Rice is the worst team in the conference, and there really isn't any reason to think both trends won't continue.
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