Tulane pulls away in second half for 68-56 victory against UTSA on Saturday
NEW ORLEANS, La. — Jay Hook scored a game-high 25 points as Tulane shot 57.1 percent in the second half en route to a 68-56 win over UTSA on Saturday night at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Hyjii Thomas came off the bench to lead the Roadrunners (8-18, 4-9 C-USA) with 16 points for his highest scoring total since notching a career-high 24 points at Texas-Pan American on Dec. 7. The senior hit six shots, including three 3-pointers, and a free throw to go along with three assists and a steal.
Keon Lewis joined him in double figures with 12 points for UTSA, which shot 34 percent for the game and scored 19 points off 16 turnovers.
Meanwhile, Hook went 8-of-13 from the field, 6-of-9 from behind the arc and 3-of-4 at the free-throw line to go along with seven rebounds. Louis Dabney was the only other player for the Green Wave (15-13, 7-6 C-USA) to reach double figures with 11 points.
Tulane shot 45.5 percent for the game after hitting at just 34.8 percent in the first half. The squad held a 42-25 advantage on the glass and outscored UTSA 20-18 in the paint.
Trailing 27-26 at half, the Green Wave opened the second half on an 11-4 run and they would not trail the rest of the way.
Dabney and Lewis traded baskets before Tulane scored six straight points and after Thomas' jumper trimmed the UTSA deficit to 34-31, Hook hit a 3-pointer to widen the gap.
UTSA began to chip away and pulled within a basket, 40-38, with 11:47 to go only to see Tulane rattle off an 8-0 run.
Again, Thomas did his best to keep the visitors close with back-to-back 3-pointers and a dunk to trail 50-46, but the Green Wave scored six quick points and led by at least eight points until the final buzzer sounded.
Jordan Sims opened the game with a 3-pointer that was answered by the first of three first-half triples by Hook to set the stage for a back-and-forth opening period. In all, the first 20 minutes featured a pair of ties and 10 lead changes.
Hook scored 13 of Tulane's first 16 points and while he excelled, the rest of the team was just 1-of-8 from the field. Each time the Roadrunners made a push, Hook either reclaimed the lead or provided some space with a basket.
Thomas gave the Birds a 10-9 lead with a 3-pointer in the corner, but the advantage was short lived thanks to another trey from Hook.
UTSA led 18-16 following a 3-pointer by Sims, but saw the Green Wave grab their largest advantage of the half with an 8-0 run. Dabney sandwiched a pair of Dye free throws with 3-pointers to supply the scoring.
However, the Roadrunners, who recorded an assist on each of their first 10 baskets, stormed back and outscored Tulane 9-2 over the final four minutes of the half for a slim 27-26 edge at intermission.
UTSA will be back in action on Thursday, Feb. 26, when it hosts North Texas (14-13, 5-8 C-USA) in a 7 p.m. tilt at the Convocation Center.