It was not hard for the Tulane men’s basketball team to figure out what went wrong on Sunday against Georgia State in its first loss of the season.
The Green Wave shot a season-worst 31 percent, gave up 22 points off turnovers while scoring only two points off Georgia State miscues and had six major defensive breakdowns that handed 15 points to the Panthers.
Tulane (5-1) trailed Georgia State by 19 at one point in the second half, falling 70-59.
“The turnover differential was a killer for us,” coach Mike Dunleavy said. “The fast breaks that we did have, we didn’t finish. We had a couple of two-on-ones and we didn’t finish. We got the looks we wanted.”
When the Wave faces Alcorn State (1-6) on Wednesday night at home, Dunleavy expects a completely different performance. The Braves lost to LSU 99-59 in their season opener and also lost by 26 points to Central Arkansas. Their only victory was against non-Division I Concordia College.
Dunleavy pointed to three Georgia State lay-ups in the first half when Tulane had poor communication and three 3-pointers in the second half by sharp-shooting forward Malik Benlevi (53.3 percent on treys for the year) when the Wave lost sight of him.
Until then, Benlevi had been a non-factor.
“I want to get back to where defensively we don’t have those kinds of mistakes with that kind of cost associated with it,” Dunleavy said. “Even with the 22 to 2 in turnovers, if we don’t give up 15 points besides, you can absorb some things but you can’t absorb everything. I feel like if we get our shots, we are going to make them.”
Aside from 20 points from reserve forward Samir Sehic, who did almost all of his damage inside, Tulane could not buy a basket at Georgia State.
Reynolds, Tulane’s leading returning scorer, missed 11 of his 13 shots after entering as a better-than 50-percent shooter.
Melvin Frazier, who had been white hot in the past four games, went 4 for 12. Jordan Cornish and Colin Slater both went 1 for 5, and Ray Ona Embo hit only 3 of 9.
Given those miserable numbers, the Wave was lucky not to lose by an even bigger margin.
“If you miss shots early, you start thinking about it,” Dunleavy said. “Everybody’s been there. We got percentage looks that we wanted and got some shots around the basket that we missed as well.”
The Wave cannot wait to get back on the court and wipe that bad taste out of its mouth.
“It’s time to start another streak,” Reynolds said. “We started off 5-0, so it’s time to start this one off against Alcorn.”