Defense fuels strong win vs ECU
The Golden Hurricane men’s basketball team played solid defense in a road game against East Carolina, leading to a 84–69 victory.
The first half was tight, as the teams traded the lead multiple times. Tulsa opened an eight point lead at 21–13, and the rest of the half was a series of short spurts that kept the score close. At the break, Tulsa led, 42–37.
In the second half, the Golden Hurricane defense took over, and they were able to put away the game. With ten minutes left, the score was 63–61 in favor of Tulsa. For the final ten minutes, Tulsa held East Carolina to eight points, while scoring 21 of their own to open a comfortable lead. The defensive outburst was fueled by many of the 19 turnovers that Tulsa forced over the course of the game, which includes 12 steals.
Dominance on the boards makes up for slow shooting start against UCF
In their next game, the Knights of Central Florida came to town. The Knights brought a unique challenge for Tulsa: 7’ 6” center Tacko Fall. Fall’s presence altered the offense, forcing a lot of outside shots early. Early in the game, the Golden Hurricane weren’t able to knock down the open outside looks they were getting. James Woodard was 0 for 7 from beyond the three point arc in the first half.
Despite these shooting struggles, Tulsa was still able to claim the lead halfway through the half, and kept it until halftime. They attacked the middle, and drew contact and got to the foul line.
In the second half, the shots started to go down, and the Tulsa’s defense buckled down and shut down the Knights. The lead opened up, and led to a comfortable 75–60 victory.
The Golden Hurricane forced 19 turnovers, while protecting the ball and only turning the ball over 5 times themselves. Despite facing a large Knight frontcourt, Tulsa still crashed the offensive boards, coming up with an incredible 18 offensive rebounds. And, while the starters struggled to score more than usual, the bench, especially Brandon Swannegan and Rashad Ray, had large contributions.
The Golden Hurricane now have won five straight conference games, and sit at 13–6 (5–2 American Athletic Conference), good for second place in the conference. Their next game is on the road against the Houston Cougars, on January 27.