HOUSTON — Louis Dabney scored 18 points, Jonathan Stark added 15, and the Tulane men’s basketball team sealed it at the free-throw line for a 68-65 win over Houston on Saturday afternoon at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Trailing by one with 2:03 left to play, the Green Wave got seven of its final nine points from free throws. After Stark made both at the line, Tulane led 65-62 with 27 seconds to go. Stark made all four of his free throw attempts in the final 27 seconds.
Houston’s L.J. Rose was fouled but couldn’t get either of his free throws to drop, and Tulane led by six with 5 seconds left.
The Green Wave (13-5, 4-2 American) finished 16-of-20 on free-throw shooting, including 13-of-15 in the second half. Dabney and Stark combined to go 11-of-11 at the line. Tre Drye scored six points for Tulane, all in the final six minutes, and had nine rebounds.
Danrad Knowles scored a career-high 31 points to lead Houston (7-10, 0-6). Devonta Pollard had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Houston held a 62-61 lead after a lay-up by Donrad Knowles with 1:49 left in the game before Tulane freshman Dylan Osetkowski’s offensive rebound and putback gave the Green Wave the lead for good with 98 seconds remaining. That lead change was the eighth of the contest.
“We had our hands full today with Houston. They are very talented and well-coached,” Tulane coach Ed Conroy said. “We found a way to win, and we had some guys come up big again. This was a team victory, and I couldn’t be more proud of this team. They are a tough bunch.”
Osetkowski scored 10 points to go with seven rebounds. Tre Drye pulled down a game-high nine boards and had six points, including a free throw with 0:13 left to give Tulane a four-point lead.
Tulane opened the game by scoring the first eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers by Dabney. Houston didn’t fold and used an 18-2 run to take an eight-point lead at 18-10.
The Green Wave chipped away and was able to tie the score at 33 on Dabney’s third and final three-pointer with 0:09 left in the half.
The teams traded leads over the first four minutes of the second half until Tulane was able to take a lead that would last almost seven minutes and feature and seven-point advantage. Houston fought back and retook the lead, 51-50, with 8:01 remaining. The Cougars managed to hold that lead until Osetkowski’s lay-up with 1:08 left.
Tulane shot 41.8 percent (23-55) from the floor and was 6-of-17 on 3-pointers.
Houston shot 47.9 percent (23-48) from the floor and managed only 3-of-17 from 3-point range. The Cougars knocked down 16 of their 23 free throws as well.
Tulane outrebounded Houston, 37-26.
Tulane will host a pair of conference games next week beginning with SMU at 8 p.m. Wednesday before taking on Memphis at the Smoothie King Center at 7 p.m. Saturday.