Tulane men beat Nicholls State

NEW ORLEANS — Tulane University continued its search for an offensive identity Tuesday night, trying different scoring tactics during a 65-48 win against Nicholls State.

While the Green Wave departed Devlin Fieldhouse with plenty of unanswered questions, they did showcase one offensive strength: the ability of their guards to penetrate, create their own shots and finish at the rim.

Guard Jordan Callahan took advantage of a nonconference opponent void of a shot-blocker with timely layups and on other possessions, jump shots on the perimeter. Callahan finished with 16 points, including 3 of 6 on 3-pointers. His jumper with 12:50 left in the first half made him the 33rd player in school history to score 1,000 points.

Point guard Ricky Tarrant also scored 16 points, using a mixture of drives in Tulane’s half-court offense and 6-of-7 shooting at the free-throw line.

“There were times tonight there was good rhythm doing that,” Tulane coach Ed Conroy said of his guard play. “There were other times I felt like we forced it. But I think both Jordan and Ricky put a lot of pressure on the defense because they can hit the 3, but they can also take it inside the 3-point line and convert, and that makes it a difficult deal to defend.”

Their play, coupled with a 10-0 run early in the second half, allowed Tulane (7-2) to win its fourth consecutive game. While Tulane is still trying to develop a transition game, as well as scoring in the post and off the bench, Callahan and Tarrant thrived against a Nicholls defense intent on disrupting the passing lanes.

“When teams get in the passing lanes, that really opens up drives,” Tarrant said. “So we get to the basket, get fouls, drop it off to the big man.”

Forward Josh Davis (11 points, eight rebounds) was the recipient of several back door cuts for layups. He narrowly missed logging his seventh consecutive double-double performance.

With 14:23 left in the first half, Callahan scored his second 3-pointer, giving Tulane a 12-10 lead it would not lose. Tulane led 30-24 at halftime.

Meanwhile, the Colonels had no offensive answer. They played without leading scorer Fred Hunter (21.7 points per game), who missed his second game with a hamstring strain. New Orleans native T.J. Carpenter led Nicholls State (1-4) with 15 points. Amin Torres, also a New Orleans native, added 10.

They were the Colonels’ lone double-digit scorers.

Nicholls State was held to 38 percent shooting.

Up next for Tulane is a road game against San Diego on Saturday.