February 8, 2013
Green Wave tries to take new-found aggressiveness on the road
Kendall Timmons had just pulled down a defensive rebound in Tulane's mauling of Marshall when coach Ed Conroy screamed at him and made exaggerated gestures with his arms. HIs sin: holding the ball and not looking up the court for a quick outlet pass.
That's Conroy's theme for this team the rest of the way. To win, Tulane has to push the ball aggressively and avoid its natural tendency to slow down and waste time.
After erupting for 59 points and a 24-point lead in the first half against Marshall on Wednesday, Tulane became passive at the start of the second half, drawing Conroy's ire. The Green Wave scored five points in the first seven minutes before ratcheting up the pace again and never letting the Thundering Herd get closer than 14 points.
"The ball started looking like it was a magnet in a few guys' hands," Conroy said. "I told them it was going to be a high-possession game. You're going to make mistakes, but then go to the next play, which we talk about all the time. I'll put you back in, but you're coming out if you hold that ball. Tonight, for the most part, we really moved the ball."
Conroy insists he has been preaching against stagnancy all season. The message finally got through on Wednesday.
"I think they realize now we need everybody sharing their energy and running the floor," he said. "We started slowing down against Central Florida and UTEP and those type of teams, and we just can't play that way."
The real test is taking that aggressiveness on the road, where Tulane (15-8, 3-5 Conference USA) has lost 18 consecutive league games dating back to January 5, 2011 at Rice. The Wave has averaged 54 points with a high of 60 in its last three games away from Devlin Fieldhouse, shooting 31.8 percent against SMU, 37.9 percent against Memphis and 40.4 percent against UTEP (34.8 percent in the decisive first half).
The numbers were particularly awful against SMU and UTEP. Tulane went 2 of 12 from 3-point range with nine assists and 11 turnovers in the former, and 2 of 16 on treys with six assists and 21 turnovers in the latter.
Tulane's next two games are at Houston (14-7, 3-5) on Saturday at 1 p.m. and at Southern Miss next Wednesday.
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