Tulane didn’t shoot well in its win at SMU last month.
On Sunday at Fogelman Arena, the Green Wave made sure that didn’t happen again in taking a key 76-64 American Athletic Association victory.
Tulane (17-8, 8-5) shot 45.8 percent, including 53.8 percent in the second half, against a team that is second in the AAC in field-goal-percentage defense.
With five games left in the regular season, the win keeps the Green Wave in fifth place and among the teams that get first-round byes in the conference tournament. The victory also marked the third sweep of a conference opponent this season.
“I am really pleased with the team effort,” Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said. “We were really sharp coming out. It was good to see us get good shots, really the whole game.”
A victory would have tied SMU (11-13, 6-7) with Tulane in fifth. However, the Mustangs, who shot just 23.7 percent against the Wave in the first meeting, shot just 32.4 percent Sunday, including 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) on 3-pointers.
“Until those last couple of 3s near the end of the game, we were 1-for-15,” SMU coach Rhonda Rompola said. “We try to go inside-outside and also tried to create some offense off our defense, but we didn’t do that until the end of the game.
“But Tulane made shots. Leslie (Vorpahl) and Kolby (Morgan), when Tulane needs them, they are two go-to players.”
Morgan, coming off a career-high 30 points at South Florida on Tuesday, scored 24 against SMU and went 4-of-7 on 3-point attempts. Point guard Vorpahl scored eight points and had a team-high nine rebounds and a game-high 10 assists in flirting with a triple-double for the third time this season.
Forward Tierra Jones had 12 points and eight rebounds, and guard/forward Courtnie Latham had 10 points.
Tulane took command by halftime with a 35-22 lead. The Wave led 17-11 at the end of the first quarter. In the first two minutes of the second, Morgan and Vorpahl sank back-to-back 3-pointers, and freshman Harlyn Wyatt drove for a basket, lifting the margin to 25-12.
Key to the 13-point halftime lead was a 15-point disparity in 3-point shooting, with Tulane going 5-of-6 compared with SMU’s 0-of-5. Morgan and Vorpahl combined for 4-of-5 on 3-pointers and had 16 points between them in the first half.
A 9-1 spurt the first two minutes of the third quarter pushed the margin to 19. The Wave led 67-48 at 4:16 of the fourth quarter before SMU went on an 11-2 run against reserves to come to 10 points of the lead with 2:25 left.
Stockton put the starters back in to close things out.