GAME NOTES: The Alabama Crimson Tide continue their three-game homestand on Sunday evening when they take on the Tulane Green Wave in non-conference action at Coleman Coliseum.
Tulane is off to a surprisingly fast start at 10-3, which is already more than halfway to last year's win total of 15. The team is currently riding a three- game win streak, most recently downing Hofstra on a neutral floor on Dec. 22, 83-62. It has been a different story for the Green Wave on the road this season however, as they have lost all three true road tilts to Georgia Tech (79-61), Nebraska (61-57) and San Diego (78-72).
Alabama is trending in the opposite direction at present, as after starting the season with six consecutive wins, the squad has fallen back to Earth in recent weeks with losses in four of its last five contests. The Tide experienced perhaps their most disappoint loss of the season on Dec. 22, falling at home to Mercer in a 66-59 final.
Alabama leads the all-time series with Tulane, 51-32, which includes wins in 29 of the previous 40 matchups in Tuscaloosa.
Although Tulane was tied with Hofstra at the half, it ripped off an incredible 20-0 run after intermission to pull away and post the blowout win. The Green Wave shot just shy of 50 percent from the field in the triumph and was paced by Ricky Tarrant, who shot 10-of-19 (5-of-11 from 3-point range) en route to a season-high 28 points, while also grabbing a career-high eight rebounds. Josh Davis had a big day in the frontcourt with 18 points, nine boards and three blocks, while Jordan Callahan added 15 points and five steals. While Tulane hasn't been explosive at the offensive end this season (.424 FG percentage, 68.5 ppg), it has found great success behind an outstanding defensive effort, which yields just 57.8 ppg. Davis is making an early push for Conference USA Player of the Year, as he is shooting 51.6 percent from the field and ranks first in the league in scoring (18.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.9 rpg). Tarrant (15.1 ppg) and Callahan (12.7 ppg) round out an impressive scoring trio for the Green Wave.
Alabama opened up an 11-point lead midway through the second quarter of its recent outing against Mercer, but the Bears responded well down the stretch, going on a 15-3 run to take the lead and eventually held on to defeat the Crimson Tide on their own floor. UA shot less than 40 percent from the floor in the setback, and posted fewer than 60 points for the third time in the last five games. Trevor Releford (19 points) and Rodney Cooper (17 points) had solid performances, but the rest of the team tallied 23 points total. Alabama has struggled to put points on the board this season (67.0 ppg), but its saving grace has been stellar play at the defensive end as it limits foes to 40.4 percent field goal efficiency for just 60.5 ppg. Releford leads the way with 16.3 ppg, and Trevor Lacey nets 13.4 ppg, while both guards are shooting at least 41 percent from 3-point range. Cooper adds 12.7 ppg, and although he averages a modest 4.6 rpg, it's enough to lead the team.
Judging from both teams' performance in the past few weeks, it would appear that Tulane has the upper hand in this matchup, but the Green Wave have simply not been the same team outside of New Orleans. Alabama will have extra incentive to get back on track after its disappoint loss to Mercer, and it'll give its fans something to cheer about in this one.