GAME NOTES: The Tulane Green Wave try to bounce back from a loss their last time out when they visit the SMU Mustangs for a Conference USA affair at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas.
Tulane saw its five-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday, as it dropped a 66-57 decision to Texas-El Paso.
Ricky Tarrant paced Tulane with 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field. Josh Davis and Tre Drye both contributed nine points and nine rebounds each for the Green Wave, who lost at home for the first time this season after winning its first 10 at Devlin Fieldhouse.
SMU, meanwhile, has lost three in a row after getting handled by Houston, 78-67, on Wednesday. Jalen Jones recorded a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Mustangs, who have dropped six of their last eight.
SMU owns a slim 14-12 series lead over Tulane, and the two teams have split the last two season series.
In Larry Brown's first season as head coach, the Mustangs have struggled offensively, managing just 64.5 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor. Rebounding has been another area of weakness, as the Mustangs have brought in just 33.9 boards per game. Where Brown has been able to get his squad to play at a high level is on defense, limiting teams to 60.6 ppg. The trio of Jones, Nick Russell and Ryan Manuel have been the most productive weapons for SMU. Jones (15.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg) is the top option, while also managing to crash the boards well. Russell (13.9 ppg, 4.1 apg) has been scoring and distributing with equal effectiveness, while Manuel (11.9 ppg) also checks in as a double-digit scorer. Depth is an issue though as only two other players score more than four points per game.
The Green Wave have been getting by this season with their defense as they allow just 57.2 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting. The Green Wave's defensive scoring average is among the 20-best in the country, as is the numbers of rebounds Tulane allows to opponents (30.2 rpg). Those efforts have led to margins of +9.2 and +6.6 in scoring and rebounding, respectively. Leading the charge offensively for Tulane is Davis (17.6 ppg, 10.2 rpg). The 6-foot-8 forward is one of 16 players in the country to be averaging a double- double on the campaign. However, he failed to register a double-double for the first time all season in the loss to UTEP. Also scoring well are Tarrant (14.8 ppg) and Jordan Callahan (11.8 ppg), although Tarrant could use improvement on his shooting, as he hits less than 35 percent of his total shots.
As stingy as the Mustangs have been this season, Davis is one of the better players in the nation and should be able to carry the Green Wave to a solid conference win on the road.
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