Things to know: Tulane basketball

The Mustangs are 3-4 on the road this season with only one road loss decided by more than two possessions. SMU is 2-3 in Conference USA after a 63-45 loss at Memphis on Saturday. The Mustangs trailed 40-36 with less than eight minutes left before the Tigers got away down the stretch.

Tulane has lost its leading scorer, but it hasn't thrown in the towel.

The Green Wave will be without junior guard Kendall Timmons, who was averaging 13.6 points a game, for the remainder of the season. He underwent surgery on a torn Achilles tendon.

Yet Tulane continues to be competitive inside Conference USA and finally notched its first conference win Jan. 21 when it beat visiting Texas-El Paso 66-58. The Green Wave had lost its first four C-USA games by a combined total of 18 points.

The win raised Tulane's record to 13-6 overall and 1-4 in the conference. It also put an end to the Green Wave's four-game losing streak.

While it's hard to imagine Tulane seriously contending for the conference title, the Green Wave does possess enough young talent to be a spoiler with players like freshman point guard Ricky Tarrant and sophomore forward Josh Davis.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Tulane's 66-58 victory over Texas-El Paso on Jan. 21 not only marked the Green Wave's first Conference USA victory of the season but it also matched its scoring high in a conference game this year. Tulane had averaged just 58.0 points a game in its first five conference games through the win over UTEP.

Offense is even more of a concern now that junior G Kendall Timmons is lost for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. He was averaging a team-leading 13.6 points through 16 games.

Timmons was injured Jan. 7 in an overtime loss to Southern Mississippi, and the injury was originally diagnosed as a high ankle sprain. However, an MRI revealed a tear in the Achilles.

"This is obviously a big blow to this team, as Kendall is unquestionably one of the top players in our league," Tulane coach Ed Conroy said.

Timmons can request a medical hardship year from the NCAA after next season. If the request is granted, Timmons would be given a fifth year of eligibility for the 2013-14 season.

So how does Tulane compensate for the loss of Timmons and sophomore C Tomas Bruha, who averaged 7.2 points in the Green Wave's first nine games before sitting out the next 10 with a knee?

"I think it was one of the things we needed to improve on as a team with Kendall and with Tomas, and now it brings it even more into focus is that we have to become a better-executing team," Conroy said. "Young guys sometimes don't know spacing and how important screening is, how important delivering the ball on time is. That was a problem with Kendall and Tomas, was trying to find that mesh and chemistry. Now without those two, there is even more of necessity to become a great execution team."

KEY MATCHUP: Senior F Robert Nyakundi was averaging 14.8 points and 5.2 assists a game for SMU through Jan. 22, and junior G London Giles was averaging 11.1 points and 1.1 steals a game. Tulane has lost three of its last four games against SMU.


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