Green Wave rebounds well and hangs on for a 68-65 win to hand South Florida its ninth loss in 10 road games.
By DARRELL WILLIAMS
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 19, 2003
NEW ORLEANS -- South Florida coach Seth Greenberg grimaced nearly every time a Tulane player grabbed an offensive rebound against his team Tuesday night in their Conference USA game at Fogelman Arena.
Greenberg wound up grimacing a lot. The Green Wave grabbed 13 of its 20 offensive rebounds in the second half, a big reason it turned back the Bulls 68-65.
"We played good defense for 30 seconds and made them miss, but we didn't complete the job and get the rebound," Greenberg said. "That was the key to the game right there."
The loss was the ninth in 10 road games for South Florida (13-10, 6-6) and dropped it a half-game behind Tulane (13-11, 6-5) into third place in the National Division. Tulane is tied with Alabama-Birmingham in second place behind Memphis.
Tulane shot just 28.1 percent (9-of-32) in the second half compared with South Florida's 48.4 percent but beat the Bulls on the boards and forced 17 turnovers, including two key steals late. The Green Wave outrebounded the Bulls despite going against a front line that includes 6-foot-11 Will McDonald and 6-10 Gerrick Morris.
"We have been preaching that we have to rebound to win," Tulane coach Shawn Finney said. "We didn't do a good job of trapping McDonald in the post and a good job of shutting down (point guard) Reggie Kohn."
McDonald was held to 10 points, 6.4 below his average, but had 10 rebounds in this return to his hometown. Kohn scored eight, but three came on a shot at the buzzer. He sank a 3-pointer with 49.3 seconds left to bring the Bulls to 63-58. However, Tulane made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch.
Tulane got off to a 16-5 lead and led most of the game. However, the Bulls battled back as their zone defense stymied the Wave. South Florida took its first lead 44-42 at 12:50 of the second half when Jimmy Baxter scored after a steal by Danny Oglesby.
South Florida led for the last time, 52-51, with 5:25 left on a layup by McDonald. But Tulane guard Brandon Spann sank two free throws, and the Bulls' Brian Swift missed a 3-point attempt that led to a fastbreak basket by Green Wave forward Brandon Brown.
South Florida pulled within two twice after that, but Tulane's Nick Sinville scored over McDonald for a 59-55 lead with 1:53 left, and Spann had a fastbreak basket after guard WaitariMarsh stole the ball.
Tulane led 36-32 at halftime after holding off a determined South Florida comeback led by Morris. The Green Wave led 34-23 with 3:15 left after Brandon Brown made a layup. However, Morris made three free throws and got a layup on a fastbreak after blocking a layup attempt by Brown, and South Florida outscored Tulane 9-2 the rest of the way.
The Green Wave made five of their first seven field goals in jumping out to a 16-5 lead 4:08 into the game. Tulane took advantage of Bulls missed shots and turnovers and made two 3-point shots in the opening run.
However, Oglesby sank a 3-pointer at 15:23 starting the Bulls on a 12-2 run that closed them to 17-15 at 12:43.