UNO blows past crosstown rival Tulane, 74-59

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UNO beats Tulane

BOX SCORE

Four Privateers post double-digit scoring totals as New Orleans posts first win over the Green Wave since 2009
 

NEW ORLEANS – Four Privateers posted double-digit scoring totals – including a 14-point, eight-round, five-assist effort by junior forward Travin Thibodeaux – as the University of New Orleans men’s basketball team rolled past cross-town rival Tulane, 74-59, on Tuesday evening in Lakefront Arena.

As a team, UNO shot 47.8 percent from the field (22-of-46), including a 12-of-22 performance (.545) in the second half while holding the Green Wave to a .364 clip (24-of-66). The win was the Privateers second in a row and the third in as many as home contests so far on the young season to even their record at 3-3. Tulane, meanwhile, dropped its fifth consecutive contest to fall to 1-6 on the year.

“I’m so happy for our student-athletes, our alumni, our faculty and our staff – everybody that has been involved with our program,” UNO head coach Mark Slessinger said. “This is a small [reward] for everybody that stuck with us over the last six to eight crazy years. Unless you’ve been here, it’s hard to understand all the ups and downs that we’ve had to fight through and some of the paths that we’ve taken to try to rebuild a program the right way.

“We’ve done with guys that are going to buy in to being a part of our University, our campus, our culture and our city. We’ve been able to get those guys to graduate at a high rate. We’ve graduated 95 percent of our seniors. We need to continue to get these guys to move our program forward toward a championship level. This was a small step forward.”

New Orleans held a commanding 41-27 rebounding advantage and shot 34 free throws with 27 makes (.794) to Tulane’s 11. The Privateers managed just three 3-pointers, but held the Green Wave to a 26.3 percent showing from beyond the arc (5-of-19). The win snapped a three-game, head-to-head skid vs. Tulane and marked UNO’s first victory in the series since a 51-50 decision on Dec. 2, 2009, across town in Devlin Fieldhouse.

Senior forward Erik Thomas led the Privateers with 18 points, followed by Thibodeaux and senior guard Christavious Gill with 14 apiece. Junior swing man Michael Zeno provided a spark off the bench for UNO with 11 points, after sinking 3-of-4 field goals and all five free throw tries, and shared the team lead in rebounding with eight boards of his own. Thibodeaux paced the Privateers in assists while Gill tallied four dimes to go with a team-leading five steals. Junior forward Makur Puou led all players defensively with three blocked shots.

“We shared the ball well,” Slessinger said. “When I talked to the team in the locker room afterwards, I told them that I don’t remember us taking one selfish shot. I don’t think at any time were guys hunting for a shot or looking to just get one. Everybody was trying to stay within the offense. They stayed within what we wanted to do as far as attacking from the inside out and they were really dynamic in our zone. They were communicating a really high level and did a good job of executing that.”

The Privateers came out of the gates on fire, draining five of their first seven shots and holding the Green Wave to a 1-for-8 showing from the field over the first five-plus minutes to race out to a 12-2 lead. Tulane whittled the lead down to five at 16-11 with 8:11 to play in the first half, but UNO responded with an 11-1 run over the next 3:46 to go ahead by 15. The Privateers’ first-half leads swelled to as many as 18 at 33-15 with 1:31 remaining in the stanza and the home team went into the locker room at the break on top, 34-17.

Tulane opened the second half with a 9-5 run to get to within 13, but UNO answered with five straight points and the led never dipped below 16 until the waning seconds of the contest. The Privateers extended the lead to 20 on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Cameron Reed to make it 57-37 with 7:48 to play and the advantage got to as many as 27 at 66-39 at the 5:59 mark. Tulane actually outscored New Orleans 10-8 the rest of the way, but the game had long since been decided.

“Our staff did an incredible job of getting these guys prepared and did a great job with the scout,” Slessinger added. “They really had them locked in. Everybody understood their role and bought in to staying within that and doing what we had to do to be able to finish possessions offensively and defensively. We had some pieces that I wasn’t happy with but overall, for the whole night, we did a lot of things that were pretty good. We rebounded the ball at a high level and converted when we needed to convert.”

Kain Harris led Tulane with 18 points and was one of four Green Wave players to tally one block on the night. Malik Morgan was next offensively with 17 points, shared team-high assist honors with Von Julien at three each, and led the visiting squad with three steals. Cameron Reynolds paced the Wave with a game-high nine rebounds.

The Privateers return to action on Saturday, Dec. 3, when they travel to Pullman, Wash., to take on Washington State. The showdown with the Cougars is the first of a two-game road swing as UNO will play at Northwestern on Sunday, Dec. 11, before returning home to play host to Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, Dec. 17. That game is slated to tipoff at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Cox Sports Television.

For tickets to the UNO/UL-Lafayette game, as well as future Privateer Athletics events, contact the UNO Athletics Ticket Office over the phone at (504) 280-GAME (4263) or via the Internet by clicking HERE.

COACH SLESSINGER’S QUOTES FOLLOWING TUESDAY’ 74-59 WIN OVER TULANE

Overall thoughts on the game
“Our staff did an incredible job of getting these guys prepared and did a great job with the scout. They really had them locked in. Everybody understood their role and bought in to staying within that and doing what we had to do to be able to finish possessions offensively and defensively. We had some pieces that I wasn’t happy with but overall, for the whole night, we did a lot of things that were pretty good. We rebounded the ball at a high level and converted when we needed to convert.”

On the significance of being 3-0 at home and defeating their cross-town rival
“I’m so happy for our student-athletes, our alumni, our faculty and our staff – everybody that has been involved with our program. This is a small [reward] for everybody that stuck with us over the last six to eight crazy years. Unless you’ve been here, it’s hard to understand all the ups and downs that we’ve had to fight through and some of the paths that we’ve taken to try to rebuild a program the right way. We’ve done with guys that are going to buy in to being a part of our University, our campus, our culture and our city. We’ve been able to get those guys to graduate at a high rate. We’ve graduated 95 percent of our seniors. We need to continue to get these guys to move our program forward toward a championship level. This was a small step forward.”

On the total team effort tonight
“We shared the ball well. When I talked to the team in the locker room afterwards, I told them that I don’t remember us taking one selfish shot. I don’t think at any time were guys hunting for a shot or looking to just get one. Everybody was trying to stay within the offense. They stayed within what we wanted to do as far as attacking from the inside out and they were really dynamic in our zone. They were communicating a really high level and did a good job of executing that.”

On the performance of junior forward Travin Thibodeaux
“He’s really coachable right now. He’s such an intelligent player and he works very hard. He’s had some really big growth steps in the last three or four weeks, and I think you can see that on the floor. He’s such an intelligent guy on and off the floor. Sometimes he can get a little stubborn, but he’s been playing at a really good level right now. We’ve gotten really good play from our upper classmen like him, Erik [Thomas], Tevin [Broyles] and [Christavious Gill]. Then Makur [Puou] comes in and was pretty dynamic in spots tonight. That gives us a good base to start growing from.”

On the upcoming game at Washington State
“We’re going to go play a really good Washington State program. They’ve got a really dynamic forward in [Josh] Hawkinson, who is a first-team All-Pac 12 player. He’s a guy that can score a bunch of ways. He’s a guy we’ll see playing on TV and he’s really, really special. Ernie Kent can coach. He can do a lot of things offensively. They’re a team that is very dangerous. Pullman, Wash., is no easy place to get to nor is it an easy place to win.”

On the tough two-game road swing with contests at Washington State and Utah State
“We’ve got some rough travel ahead of us. Our guys need to continue to stick together and play at a high level together. We need to get guys to come in [off the bench] and give us a spark. I thought [Michael] Zeno was really special in the second half. He got off to a slow start in the first and came in during the second half and was really special and dynamic. He got some huge rebounds, had some big finishes, shot 5-for-5 from the free throw line, and really gave us a spark that we needed off the bench.”

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Richie Weaver

Richie Weaver

Director of Athletic Media Relations, University of New Orleans

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