MOBILE, Ala. — Kevin Sims scored 20 points, shooting 4-of-5 from 3-point range, and led Tulane to a 66-56 victory over the University of Maine in the USA Basketball Challenge consolation game Saturday evening.
The Black Bears, now 3-4, had a 31-21 halftime lead, but shot just 35.3 percent from the field in the second half after shooting 57.1 percent in the first while suffering their fourth straight loss. Meanwhile, Tulane rebounded from a 32.1 percent first half to shoot 43.8 in the second.
Maybe more importantly, the bigger Tulane squad was able to play more of a halfcourt game in the second half. The Green Wave outrebounded Maine 20-3 on the offensive end and 39-26 overall while scoring 19 second-chance points to none for Maine.
“We haven’t been under nine offensive rebounds all year, so that’s by far our lowest total in a long time,” said Maine coach Ted Woodward. “They go 6-foot-7, 6-8 and 6-8 across their front line and they focused on making it a game on the glass in the second half.”
The Bears’ big guys were also in foul trouble as sophomore forward Troy Barnies of Auburn had four, sophomore forward Sean McNally of Gardiner fouled out, and Svetoslav Chetinov had three after coming off the bench.
Maine also committed 20 turnovers (12 in the second half) to Tulane’s 12. The Green Wave scored 19 points off turnovers while Maine managed to get just seven, and Tulane’s bench outscored Maine’s 10-0.
Maine junior guard Mark Socoby of Houlton had another strong tourney game with a team-high 18 points. Freshman guard Gerald McLemore finished with 14 points and Barnies of Auburn had 12 to go with three steals and five rebounds.
Tulane shot 38.3 percent from the field (23-for-60) compared to the Black Bears (2-3), who made 47 percent of their shots (18-for-38).
Mark Socoby led Maine with 18 points, while Gerald McLemore had 14 and Troy Barnies added 12. The Black Bears committed 20 turnovers.
The Black Bears were without the services of sophomore guard Malachi Peay, who did not make the trip after being injured during a scramble for a loose ball in a game last Tuesday.
“The only one in foul trouble was McNally, but without Malachi, that certainly weakened our rebounding effort,” said Woodward, who added he does not expect Peay to return by the next game on Thursday, pending a medical evaluation on Monday.
Kaimondre Owes did not play after suffering a foot injury in the first half, but Woodward said he has been cleared to play.
Asim McQueen scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Green Wave (4-2). Robinson Louisme scored 12 points and had eight rebounds. Daniel Puckett had seven points and nine rebounds.