Young Tulane squad opens season against Lamar

NCAA Basketball

Tulane coach Ron Hunter doesn’t know what to expect from his team going into its season opener.

Lamar coach Tic Price no doubt hopes his team’s performance in Wednesday’s opener isn’t indicative of what he can expect this season.

Hunter’s Green Wave open the season by hosting Price’s Cardinals in the first game of the Tulane Classic on Friday afternoon in New Orleans. Lamar opened its season with an 89-45 loss at No. 17 Houston.

Tulane, 12-18 and 4-14 in the American Athletic Conference last season, has no seniors and nine of its top 11 scholarship players are freshmen or sophomores.

“I’ve never gone into a season where I had absolutely no idea what’s going to happen,” said Hunter, the former Georgia State and IUPUI coach who is beginning his second season with the Green Wave.

“I’ve never coached a group this young before. I’m having so much fun with them because they are so young that they don’t even know they should be nervous.”

Tulane was picked to finish last in the AAC.

“This whole thing about how we’ve been living and what we’ve been doing (because of COVID-19), being picked last is the least of my concerns right now,” Hunter said.

Price is bound to be concerned about the Cardinals’ shooting after their performance at Houston.

They shot just 30 percent (15 of 50) from the floor, including just 1 of 13 (7.7 percent) on 3-pointers.

Lamar (0-1) missed its last 10 field-goal attempts and 14 of its last 15, making no field goals in the final 5:05. Houston finished the game on a 16-1 run.

“We are not in the shape we need to be in to play against a team like this,” Price said. “We had some time — two weeks — in quarantine when they were getting ready. We had to play some people that we probably wouldn’t have given a shot at in a game like this.”

Houston’s bench outscored Lamar’s reserves 37-9.

Lamar, 17-15 a year ago and picked to finish fifth in the Southland Conference, figures to be more competitive against the Green Wave as it continues a season-opening stretch of playing eight of nine games away from home.

“We have to play every possession,” Price said. “We haven’t been able to practice against man defense because we never had 10 guys in practice, but we can sit here and make excuses or we can make progress.”

–Field Level Media

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