Tulane 57, Georgia Tech 52
NEW ORLEANS (AP)
Tulane freshman Rickey Tarrant could not have timed his first major scoring outburst much better.
Tarrant highlighted a career-high 24-point outing with six 3-pointers and a pair of clutch free throws with 25 seconds left, and Tulane improved to 9-0 for the first time in two decades with a 57-52 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Josh Davis scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Tulane, while Kendall Timmons scored nine points, including a steal and breakaway dunk to give the Green Wave the lead for good in the final 40 seconds.
Tulane hasn't started 9-0 since winning its first 13 games in 1991-92, a season the Green Wave qualified for the NCAA tournament.
Glen Rice Jr. had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Georgia Tech (4-4), which has dropped two straight. Jason Morris added 12 points for the Yellow Jackets.
While Georgia Tech shot only 35 percent, the Yellow Jacks played suffocating defense for much of the game, holding Tulane to 30 percent shooting. If not for Tarrant's 7 of 10 shooting and Tulane's 17-5 advantage in scoring from the free-throw line, the Wave might not have pulled it out.
In fact, Tulane players other than Tarrant combined to go 9 of 42 (21.4 percent).
Tulane shot only 20 percent in the second half and went 10:50 without hitting from the field, making only two free throws during that span. That allowed Tech to erase and 44-34 deficit with a 12-2 run and tie the game at 46 on Brandon Reed's driving layup with 5:43 to go.
The last tie came when Mfon Udofia spun into the lane and hit a floater to make it 50-50. After Davis hit a free throw, Kammeon Holsey's layup put Tech back up 52-51.
Timmons missed a layup in traffic with just over a minute left, but soon after stole the ball at mid-court from Udofia. The Tech guard then slipped as Timmons broke in alone for a dunk that sent the tense Fogelman Arena crowd into a frenzy.
Tarrant helped Tulane race to a 13-4 lead when he hit his first 3 of the game from the left corner.
Georgia Tech seized the momentum back when Udofia hit a pull-up jumper in transition. Rice followed with a 3, and then found Morris for an alley-oop dunk. That sparked a 15-0 run that included 3s by Udofia and Morris, and Morris' breakaway dunk that made it 19-13.
Tarrant began to reassert himself soon after, hitting five straight 3s, some from several feet behind the arc, during a 15-3 Tulane run that made it 33-24.
Udofia's layup pulled Tech to 33-26 at halftime.
Tarrant ''has 20 at halftime, so obviously that's a big factor,'' Gregory said. ''They only score 57 points and he gets more than one-third of those in the first half.