Marcus Kinzer scored a career-high 19 points and took over the game down the stretch as Tulane University upset UAB, 74-69, in Conference USA men's basketball action on Wednesday evening at Fogelman Arena.
UAB (16-8, 9-4 C-USA) entered the game tied for second in Conference USA and rated No. 27 in the RPI. The Green Wave is battling to qualify for
the Conference USA Tournament and has an RPI of 172.
"This was a great win for us," Tulane coach Shawn Finney said. "Our guys showed a lot of poise. We had a lot of turnovers but we didn't panic down the stretch."
After leading by as many as 14 in the second-half, Tulane (11-13, 4-9) saw UAB battle all the way back. The Blazers took their first lead
since the first half on a pair of free throws by New Orleans native Carldell Johnson which made it 65-64 with 2:29 to go. However, a driving scoop shot by Kinzer found nothing but net to put the Wave back on top with 1:43 to go. On the next play, Kinzer stripped Demario Eddins in the paint and found Quincy Davis breaking to the hoop. Davis was fouled but converted both free throws to make it 68-65 at the 1:08 mark.
"The key point was when they went up and we came right back and scored," Finney said. "That shows we're growing as a team. We're learning to
make plays at the end of games and we have guys stepping up."
UAB, which missed 19-of-22 three-point attempts in the game, tried to knot the contest on a Mo Finley jumper, but it was off the mark and
rebounded by Vytas Tatarunas who gave it up to Kinzer who was immediately fouled. The junior, who was 7-of-8 from the line, buried both shots and it was 70-68 with 47.9 seconds remaining.
The Wave clinched the game with 4-of-6 free throws to offset a pair of driving baskets by UAB's Demario Eddins.
Over the final 1:08 of the game, the Green Wave hit 8-of-10 free throws to ice the victory. For the game, the Wave was 26-of-33 from the line,
its most points from the line this year. UAB was 16-of-23. The strong free-throw shooting helped Tulane offset a season-high 25 turnovers and
the fact that the Blazers attempted 25 more shots than the Wave.
In addition to Kinzer's 19 points, Davis and Tatarunas each posted double-doubles. Davis had 13 points and 13 boards, while Tatarunas had
15 and 11. Freshman Dan Fitzgerald, who made his first career start, chipped in with 10 points, the fourth time in the last six games he has
hit for double figures.
"Dan is playing so well right now," Finney said. "He is guarding, he is rebounding better. He is a heady player and he earned the start."
UAB was led by Finley's 22 points. However, the senior sharp-shooter hit 10 of his first 17 shots and was then harassed into seven straight misses to close the game. Eddins added 17 points for UAB.
After leading 38-30 at the break, Tulane opened the second stanza with a 7-1 run to build a game-high 14-point advantage at 45-31 with 17:01 on
the clock. However, UAB roared back as Finley scored 10 points to key a 16-3 spurt which pulled the Blazers within one at 48-47 with 10:49 to
The remainder of the game was a dogfight with Tulane managing to hold on to the lead until Johnson's free throws at the 2:29 mark.
Tulane shot 45.8 percent (22-of-48) from the field while holding UAB to 34.2 percent (25-of-73) shooting. The Green Wave held a slim 43-42 edge on the boards, but UAB had 17 offensive rebounds to Tulane's seven. The Blazers turned the ball over 15 times to Tulane's 25.
The Green Wave will play its final home game of the 2003-04 season on Saturday evening, hosting Saint Louis at Fogelman Arena at 7 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 504-861-WAVE.
Tulane Upsets UAB At Fogleman, 74-69
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