Houston (11-10) at Tulane (14-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 4th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fogelman Arena (3,600) -- New Orleans, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Houston 10-4, Tulane 11-2. Away Record: Houston 0-5, Tulane 2-6. Neutral Record: Houston 1-1, Tulane 1-0. Conference Record: Houston 3-5, Tulane 2-6. Series Record: Series is tied, 13-13.
GAME NOTES: The Tulane Green Wave aim to get back in the win column Saturday, returning home to face the Houston Cougars in a Conference USA matchup from Fogelman Arena.
Tulane suffered its second straight defeat Wednesday at the hands of Marshall, 63-44. It was a complete collapse for the Green Wave as Marshall put together a back-breaking 19-2 run early in the contest that the visitors never recovered from. Tulane went 7:37 without a point during the stretch and the Thundering Herd upped their advantage to 19 a short time later. The visitors wound up shooting an even 40.0 percent from the floor and were outrebounded, 45-22. Freshman Ricky Tarrant and Jordan Callahan shared high-scoring honors for Tulane at 11 points apiece.
Houston had its modest two-game win streak ended Wednesday at UAB as the Blazers built up an early lead and hung on for an 80-69 victory. The Cougars saw UAB rack up 50 points in the first half and establish a 21-point lead at one point. Houston managed to get back within five in the second half but the deficit proved too much in the end. The Cougars wound up shooting 41.3 percent from the floor and got 17 points apiece from Alandise Harris and Jonathon Simmons. Freshman TaShawn Thomas went off for 16 points and 14 rebounds in the losing cause.
The Green Wave tied the all-time series at 13 games apiece by way of their 80-77 home victory over Houston March 3 of last season. The 2010-11 home-and- home set was split at a game apiece but Tulane has won the last two meetings in New Orleans where they are 8-4 over the course of the series.
The Green Wave have had to carry on without the services of leading scorer junior Kendall Timmons, who had surgery recently to repair the Achilles tendon in his right leg. Timmons was averaging 13.6 points per game and a solid 5.2 rebounds at the time of his injury. The keys to the offense have now seemingly been transferred to the inexperienced but rising Tarrant, who is now averaging 13.9 ppg and 3.9 boards. The junior Callahan and the sophomore Josh Davis are helping to pitch in as well, the former posting 11.7 ppg and the latter a solid 10.5 ppg. Callahan is also the team's best three-point shooter with 41 on 37.6 percent shooting. Davis serves as Tulane's leading rebounder at 9.4 per contest. Overall, the Green Wave have mediocre offensive numbers with 66.0 ppg on just 42.8 percent shooting but often rise above thanks to a stellar defense. Tulane stifles the opposition to the tune of a league-low 58.3 ppg and a 39.7 shooting percentage, giving it C-USA's third-best scoring margin at plus-7.8.
The Cougars' offense is led by the duo of Simmons and Harris, who average 15.0 and 14.0 ppg, respectively. Thomas has paid huge dividends in his first collegiate go-round, posting 10.9 ppg and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per contest. Joseph Young gives the Cougars a quartet of double figure scoring options at 10.2 ppg and leads the team in three pointers with 39 on 39.4 percent shooting. Overall, Houston puts up 74.6 ppg -- second to only Memphis in conference play -- and lands a crisp 46.9 percent of its field goals. The defense is another story, though, allowing a league-high 72.9 ppg on 43.3 percent shooting. The Cougars normally hold their own on the boards, checking in with a plus-1.8 margin at 36.8-35.0 rpg. Harris stands second to Thomas with 6.3 secured caroms per contest.
Both Tulane and Houston have had troubles winning on the road but the Green Wave have amassed a strong 11-2 mark at Fogelman Arena and their return home should spell victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulane 69, Houston 66
02/04 10:54:03 ET