Malik Morgan’s 3-point shot from the side in the final minute of overtime sailed well off line before somehow banking in off the backboard.
Tulane deserved that moment of luck after 44 minutes of pluck.
Executing nearly flawlessly down the stretch, the Green Wave men’s basketball team snapped a 12-game losing streak in American Athletic Conference home contests and beat Memphis in New Orleans for the first time in 16 years on Saturday at Devlin Fieldhouse. Having played three overtimes to stop a six-game skid at East Carolina on Wednesday, the Wave needed one overtime session for an even bigger victory, getting past the Tigers 94-87.
“Our guys played with great energy, and it goes back to the conditioning in the fall and just how they are coming together as a team,” coach Ed Conroy said. “They are really showing people what a team is and what a family is.”
Power forward Dylan Osetkowski had a career-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, adding 13 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the year. Guard Malik Morgan matched Osetkowski’s 23 points while playing all 45 minutes, also handing out four assists.
Louis Dabney scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half after picking up two quick fouls on charges and sitting the final 16 minutes of the first half.
They weren’t the only contributors.
Morgan’s carom gave Tulane a 91-87 lead with 45.6 seconds left, but the Wave (10-16, 3-10 American Athletic Conference) cut Memphis (14-11, 5-7) apart to get in position for some good fortune.
With Tulane trailing 79-75, 41.2-percent foul shooter freshman Blake Paul sank two free throws to make it a one-possession game at the 1:41 mark of regulation. After the Tigers missed a free throw a minute later, freshman Melvin Frazier passed to Cameron Reynolds for a tying 3-pointer with 18.1 seconds left.
In overtime, Dabney scored on a beautiful spin move in the lane before Osetkowski drove for a layup in traffic and slammed in an alley oop from Morgan, giving the Wave a one-point lead on each occasion.
“It was just a read on one of our out-of-bounds plays,” Morgan said. “Dylan set a great screen, and I was able to find him on a great roll.”
Tulane hit 11 of 25 3-pointers and shot 46.9 percent overall. This, from a team that was in the AAC in almost every offensive category entering the week.
“We did some things that put pressure on their defense the entire night,” Conroy said. “Dylan was being active and getting on post-ups all day, and we were finding him. We were playing team basketball and kept the heat on them.”
The largest lead for both teams was seven, but the Tigers appeared close to pulling away when former Tulane guard Ricky Tarrant hit three treys early in the second half to make the score 64-57. Tarrant, who was the Conference USA Freshman of the Year for Conroy in 2011-12 and a second-team all-league pick in 2021-13 before transferring to Alabama and ultimately Memphis, broke out of a slump to score his conference high of 19 points.
But he missed a shot that would have created a 10-point advantage and went cold at the end of regulation, failing to hit the rim on his final two attempts. He then cramped up after drawing only glass on a potential game-winner at the buzzer, went to the locker room and did not play in overtime.
“He said he couldn’t go,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said.
Freshman Dedric Lawson, who was injured and did not play in Memphis’ 77-65 win over Tulane in December, had a game-high 25 points and 16 rebounds. Dabney blocked his last shot, though, setting up Morgan’s clinching 3-pointer.
“I saw it was off,” Morgan said. “I screamed ‘bank’ toward the end.”
Almost all of his other attempts were perfectly on line as he went 5 for 7 on 3-point attempts, equaling his career-best five treys from three days earlier.
Reynolds’ shot near the end of regulation was true, too, giving him his second huge basket in as many games after he drained a 3 in the second overtime at East Carolina.
“I just knew it had to go up,” he said. “It was the same scenario as ECU. They came off the side, and I just had to knock it in. It felt good.”
Nothing felt good for Pastner, whose already hot seat got considerably hotter with Memphis losing to Tulane for the second time in two years after winning 22 in a row. He ripped center Shaq Goodwin (15 points, 10 rebounds) for hanging on the rim and drawing a technical foul after an uncontested dunk late in the first half, particularly because Goodwin continued to celebrate with teammates and showed no remorse about the call.
That moment of selfishness contrasted sharply with Tulane’s togetherness. The Wave waited until winning before celebrating.
“It just shows how much work we put in every day,” Dabney said. “It’s a great feeling right now.”