The Tulane men’s basketball team stuck to its preseason talking points in its exhibition opener against next-door neighbor Loyola.
After saying its biggest improvements were its defense, depth and sophomore class, the Green Wave showcased those three strengths, winning 87-43 on Wednesday night at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Louis Dabney led five players in double figures with 15 points, five sophomores accounted for 28 of Tulane’s 38 first-half points and the Wave held the Wolf Pack to 26.3 percent shooting.
The Wolf Pack’s shooting percentage was lower than any Tulane opponent last year, and no Loyola player scored in double figures. The Wave locked Loyola down from the start, limiting it to 8-of-30 shooting in the first half. The second half was more of the same, with the Wolf pack connecting on 7 of 27 shots.
“I was pleased with our defensive effort the whole night,” Tulane coach Ed Conroy said. “I like how hard this team plays.”
Sophomores Kajon Mack, Peyton Henson and Cameron Reynolds all hit 3-pointers. Mack and sophomore point guard Jonathan Stark each pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, and Mack capped his comeback night with a one-handed dunk off a run-out to make the score 83-43 with 1:59 left.
Mack sat out the 2013-14 season with a foot injury.
“Being away for that long, it felt great to get back out there with my brothers,” he said. “I loved it.”
The final tally for the sophomores: 48 points of Tulane’s 87 points and 27 of the Wave’s 51 rebounds. Mack had 14 points, with Henson scoring 11 and Reynolds contributing 10.
“Until you see them do it with the game lights on, there’s always a question mark,” Conroy said. “But those guys did tonight what I’ve been seeing them do all summer and all fall.”
Senior Jay Hook scored all 11 of his points in the second half after picking up three quick fouls in the first half.
Tulane, which trailed only once, 2-0, led 38-26 at the half and pulled away quickly from there. The Wave ended on a 25-3 run as Loyola (1-2), which had fallen in overtime to local rival Xavier on Tuesday night, lost its legs.
Jalen Gray and Nick Parker led Loyola with nine points.
Tulane opens the season on Monday against Wake Forest at Devlin Fieldhouse.