Tulane coach Ron Hunter portrayed Monday night’s 80-77 loss against Bradley as “two teams fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth.”
If that’s the case, the Green Wave (3-1) need to fight harder Wednesday night when they battle California (2-3) for third place in the SoCal Challenge in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Tulane nearly erased an 11-point deficit in the last five minutes but a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Kolby King from the corner banged off the iron with seven seconds left.
Tulane’s inability to score from distance was a theme all night, as the Green Wave made only 3 of 16 from the arc.
Jaylen Forbes scored a game-high 17 points but made only 4 of 11 attempts from the field, missing his last seven 3-point tries.
Hunter said he might have to consider sitting Forbes, citing the effects of a preseason hamstring strain.
“I’ve got to make a decision of how much more I’m going to play him right now,” Hunter said. “I’m concerned. It’s tough when the guy’s a senior because I don’t want him to miss games, but I want to finish the season also.”
Meanwhile, the Golden Bears are coming off their own tough defeat on Monday night, falling 75-72 to unbeaten UTEP when Tae Hardy drilled a 3-pointer as time expired.
Jalen Cone brought Cal back in the last minute by making two free throws and a 3-pointer to even the score with 16 seconds left. He and Jaylon Tyson scored 15 points for the Golden Bears, while Fardaws Aimaq tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.
The result brought to mind first-year coach Mark Madsen’s preseason thoughts about Cal’s 3-29 season under Mark Fox in 2022-23.
“We have so much room for growth,” he said. “We want to have a huge turnaround here, we want to have a historic turnaround — and we believe it’s very possible.”
This will be the first meeting of the two programs.
–Field Level Media
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