Gomez scores 17 as Tulane holds off Rice 61-56
NEW ORLEANS (AP)—David Gomez came off the bench to score 17 points, including a late jumper that broke a 50-50 tie as Tulane held on to beat Rice 61-56.
Tulane (12-6, 2-2 Conference USA), led 36-24 at halftime, but Rice (3-14, 0-4) opened the second half with a 13-2 run.
Then Bryan Beasley finished a fast break with a layup to put the Owls ahead 39-38, and Lance Ghoram followed with a long jumper for a 41-38 lead.
Gomez made two free throws, but Rodney Foster’s 3-point shot gave Rice its biggest lead of the game, 44-40.
Gomez and Daniel Puckett hit five straight free throws to regain the lead for Tulane, 45-44, near the midway point of the second half.
For the next two minutes, both teams made fouls, missed shots and turned over the ball. The lead went back and forth until Gomez made his tiebreaking shot, followed by a Donnavan Stith dunk that put the Green Wave ahead 54-40 with 3:05 left.
Kevin Sims had 12 points, five assists and three steals for Tulane. Stith had four steals.
Rice was led by 16 points from Ghoram, 13 from Rodney Roster and 12 from Paulius Packevicius.