Basketball journalist Hannah Robbins covers the men’s decisive 80-57 win over Tulane on Thursday, Feb. 14.
The Golden Hurricane didn’t let Tulane take advantage of their home court advantage on Thursday. Led by Jeriah Horne’s 20 points, Tulsa won its second game in a row in a dominant fashion. Horne was not the only high scorer of the game; Martins Igbanu and DaQuan Jeffries each had 16 points while Chris Barnes added 12 off the bench.
Tulsa started strong, winning the opening tip and striking first with a layup from Jeffries. Tulane responded with Jordan Cornish’s three-pointer keeping the two teams close. Horne put up two two-pointers, but Tulane’s Caleb Daniels knocked down a three-pointer to give Tulane a one-point advantage.
The teams continued to trade the lead, with Tulane going shot for shot with Tulsa. Connor Crabtree’s layup gave the Green Wave a 12-11 lead, but Horne took it back with a tough and-one jumper. Jeffries’ driving layup and another Horne jumper finally put Tulsa up by more than one possession.
After a foul by Barnes, Moses Wood put Tulane back ahead by making both free throws. Lawson Korita answered a minute later with a three-pointer for his first points of the game. Curran Scott’s seven points in the last three minutes left Tulsa up by 10 as the momentum started to lean in the Golden Hurricane’s favor for good.
Right out the gate, Daniels tried to make something happen to turn the tide in Tulane’s favor, but Igbanu, Taplin and Scott responded in kind, increasing TU’s lead to 13. Tulsa’s lead would have been higher if not for the fouls they kept committing; Tulane took 13 free throws in the second half, making 11.
Another five points from Igbanu early into the second half helped widen Tulsa’s lead to 18, putting pressure on the Green Wave. Cornish did his best to respond, but his four points in three minutes amounted to nothing as Tulsa scored six in the same timeframe.
An additional three-pointer by Jeffries and layups by Igbanu kept Tulsa ahead, but their lead shrunk slightly as Crabtree hit a three-pointer and a layup. Jeffries made sure to stamp out any hope for Tulane with a three-pointer, two free throws and a two-pointer in quick succession toward the end of the half.
By the time Darien Jackson dunked with 30 seconds left in the game, it was obvious that Tulane would not be able to recover from their 23-point deficit. Fouls prolonged the contest slightly, but with another dunk by Peter Hewitt, it was all over.
Tulsa simply outplayed Tulane from start to finish. In the 80-57 win, the Golden Hurricane held Tulane to just 27 percent from the field, including an abysmal 21 percent in the second half. Tulane’s one saving grace was effectiveness at getting to the line, hitting 81 percent on 22 attempts. But this wasn’t nearly enough to overcome Tulsa’s superior shooting efficiency, rebounding and hustle as they were able to grab a key conference win leading up to the season’s home stretch.