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Tulane Green Wave

Wave comes up short at ECU

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – The Tulane men's basketball team placed four scorers in double-figures, but suffered a 74-65 road defeat at East Carolina in American Athletic Conference on Saturday afternoon inside Minges Coliseum.

Cameron Reynolds scored a team-high 16 points, recording his 10th-straight double-digit scoring performance, while Ray Ona Embo added 15 points and a personal-best four steals. Melvin Frazier chipped in 13 points and six boards, as Ryan Smith reached double-figures for the fifth-straight contest with 10 points.

Malik Morgan handed out a career-high 12 assists, tying for the third most in a single game in program history. The dozen helpers were the most in a game since Jordan Callahan had that many in 2011 against Houston.

Caleb White led East Carolina (11-13, 3-8 AAC) with a game-high 20 points, as Jeremy Sheppard added 18 points. Kentrell Barkley posted a double-double comprising 14 points and 12 rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite shooting under 29 percent from three-point range on the season, the Pirates made their first three attempts from range and opened up an early 11-5 advantage. The Green Wave would punch back with an 8-2 scoring run, highlighted by five-straight points by Reynolds and a layup by Smith, to tie the game at 13 with 13:01 left in the period.

ECU continued its torrid start beyond the arc and made six of its first seven shots, but was unable to pull away as Tulane (4-19, 1-10 AAC) had responses on the offensive end to keep it a one-possession contest, 22-19, across the halfway point of the first half.

East Carolina would break it open with another trio of threes in the waning minutes to push its advantage to double-digits before taking a 43-31 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.

The Green Wave shot 12-for-31 (.387) overall, 4-for-8 (.500) from three and 3-for-4 (.750) at the free throw line in the half, while the Pirates went 13-for-27 (.481) from the field, 9-for-13 (.692) from outside and 8-for-9 (.889) at the foul stripe.

Tulane got the deficit into single digits early in the second half when a layup by Morgan made it 44-37, but ECU responded with eight-straight points to push its advantage to 15 points and forced the Wave to call a timeout with 16:07 remaining.

Trailing 56-43 with 12:02 remaining, the Green Wave ripped off an 8-0 run over the subsequent three minutes to cut its deficit to five points, forcing the Pirates to burn a timeout of their own with just over nine minutes left.

East Carolina grew its lead back to 10 points, 61-51, with 8:06 to go, but a 7-0 run by Tulane cut the margin to just three points on a Morgan jumper with 5:10 on the clock. The Pirates countered quickly with consecutive threes to push its lead back to nine, 69-60, as the Wave called timeout at the 4:18 mark.

A five-point spark by Ona Embo on a dunk and a three-pointer brought the Green Wave back within four with 2:54 to play

Tulane would draw now closer however, as ECU knocked down its late free throws and held on for the nine-point home victory.

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