Coming into Wednesday night’s matchup, fans knew they’d be getting a good look at both teams. Tulane basketball started conference play with two upsets, against Memphis at home and Cincinnati on the road. For a team that was expected to finish near the bottom of the league, Tulane’s matchup with East Carolina would help show if those first two games were a fluke. For East Carolina, it was their first AAC test, as their first scheduled matchup against Wichita State had to be postponed.
After falling behind 39-24 against East Carolina, Tulane finished the half on a 13-4 run. The two teams traded the lead back and forth before a Jaylen Forbes three-pointer put the Green Wave up three with 24 seconds to go. A Tristen Newton three with two seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime. From there, it was all East Carolina, as they outscored Tulane 17-9 and won 88-80. East Carolina won their first conference game of the 2021-22 season while Tulane fell to 2-1 in conference play.
East Carolina Gets First Conference Win
The Tristen Newton Show
East Carolina beat Tulane thanks to the heroics of sophomore guard Tristen Newton. Not only did Newton hit the three to send the game into overtime, but he also made a layup previously with 15 seconds left to trim Tulane’s lead at the time to one. Newton was already having a good game, but he went berserk in overtime. Newton had 14 points in overtime to take his total on the night to 32 points, which is a career-high.
The most important thing about Newton’s performance was his efficiency and his ability to stuff the stat sheet. Newton hit 11/19 shots from the field and hit five of nine from deep. He also added five rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block to his stat line. Newton gave all of that production while only turning the ball over two times. Big games are to be expected from East Carolina’s leading scorer, but games like this don’t come around like this often even for the best of the best.
Tulane Collapses Late
When it mattered most, Tulane simply couldn’t capitalize. Tulane had a three-point lead on two separate occasions with under 30 seconds left. Head coach Ron Hunter will have to question his decision to not foul East Carolina late in the second half. Instead, they allowed the Pirates to get a shot off and send it into overtime. Hindsight is always 50/50, but with Marquette also losing in a similar fashion last Saturday, you’d think the lesson would be learned by college coaches around the country.
The lead constantly changed hands in overtime, but Tulane controlled it for the first half of it. Tulane even held an 80-78 lead with just under two and a half minutes left in overtime. They then missed their last four shots and turned the ball over once. All East Carolina had to do was play smart from there. The Pirates scored 10 unanswered to secure their first conference victory. East Carolina is no easy opponent, but Tulane has to feel they squandered a golden opportunity to start the AAC season 3-0.