Jonathan Stark and Tre Drye led another balanced scoring effort for Tulane with 14 points apiece as the Green Wave cruised past Southern 74-59 on Tuesday night at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Jay Hook added 12 points and Payton Henson contributed 11 for Tulane (3-1), which has not had a player score 20 through four games, but has placed at least four players in double figures in each of its last three. No one even took 10 shots against Southern.
“I think it will be just like this every night,” Stark said. “We are more well-rounded this year and everybody has the capability to score.”
The Wave improved to 8-0 all-time against Southern (1-4), whose only victory was against LSU-Alexandria, but it was only the second time Tulane beat the Jaguars by more than seven points. Southern, which lost its top three scorers from last year and has played without the No. 4 scorer, Tre Lynch, because of a sprained ankle, had failed to reach 50 points in its two previous games against Ole Miss and Middle Tennessee.
“We lost, but we played better,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “I can see us coming around a little bit. I knew it was going to take some time with this team with all the new parts.”
Trelun Banks led Southern with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Cameron Monroe had 11 points, and Joell Hopkins chipped in with 10.
Louis Dabney scored all eight of his points in the last 2:15 of the first half, heating up just in time to give the Green Wave a double-digit lead by the break.
His first points came on a midrange shot with 2:15 left, making the score 29-23. He followed with two free throws to stretch the advantage to 31-24 and sank a 3-pointer in transition to put the Wave up 34-24 with 1:29 left. When he sank one of two free throw at the 1.9 second mark after coming up with a steal, he joined Stark as the team high scorer for the half with eight points, and Tulane led 37-26.
The Wave increased the lead to 43-26 in the first minute of the second half, getting the eighth career 3-pointer from Drye, a senior power forward, before Hook hit three free throws when he was fouled on a trey attempt.
Southern never got within single digits again. Frank Snow had a chance to cut the deficit to 55-45 with 9:48 left, but he barely grazed the rim on the front end of a one-and-one.
A minute later, Henson completed a 3-point play after drawing contact in the lane, padding the margin to 59-43.
Southern’s leading scoring coming in, Adrian Rodgers, missed all six of his shots from the floor and finished with one point.
“We need a few more games and then our true colors will start coming out,” Banks said. “We are still trying to figure it out.”
Tulane trailed 8-2 early and scored five points in the first 5:55, but the Wave spent the rest of the half doing things it was incapable of a year ago. Henson drained a 3-pointer from the corner after missing his first seven long-range attempts this year and going 14 for 52 as a freshman.
“Any time you hit your first shot, it gets you into the zone,” Henson said. “It slows you down, and I had a lot of different opportunities.”
Freshman center Dylan Osetkowski then executed a pretty give-and-go with Kajon Mack, feeding him for an easy lay-up.
It was not all perfect for Osetkowski, though. After connecting on the first nine shots from the floor for the year, he tried an 18-footer that glanced off the backboard.
The second half had some ugly moments for both teams. Tulane committed its seventh foul a little more than seven minutes into the half, sending Southern to the free throw line repeatedly the rest of the way. The Jaguars did not take full advantage, though, missing nine of their next 18.
Southern, the school where Avery Johnson set an NCAA record for assists in a season that still stands, finished with two assists and 14 turnovers.
“It’s a little misleading because we were able to get to the rim,” Banks said. “When we did throw it in there to the bigs, we didn’t finish. When I look at the way the game unfolded, that wasn’t a bad stat.”
After its quick outburst in the second half, Tulane never led by more than 17 or by fewer than 12 the rest of the way.