The Golden Hurricane men’s basketball team’s win streak came to an end at 12 wins after a loss to SMU on Saturday night.
On Thursday, Tulsa traveled to Houston to take on the Cougars. As has been the case with much of their strong conference play, the defense came through to lead TU to victory. The Golden Hurricane started the game strong, opening with a 9–3 run on baskets by D’Andre Wright, Rashad Ray and James Woodard.
Houston was forced to call a timeout, and Tulsa pushed the lead out to 13–5 after the timeout. From there, however, the Cougars pulled back within two points at 13–11 and proceeded to take their first lead later in the half at 20–19. Houston kept the pressure on and earned a 34–29 lead heading into halftime.
Houston scored the first basket of the second half, giving them a 36–29 lead, their largest of the game. After that, a dunk by Wright triggered an 11–0 run for the Golden Hurricane, retaking the lead at 40–36. The first double-digit lead of the game for Tulsa came at 50–40 with eight minutes remaining in the game. Houston scored the next four points to pull within six, but that was as close as they would come as TU scored the final seven points of the game to finish out the 57–44 victory.
Tulsa’s defense stymied Houston in the second half, only allowing ten points on three field goals. Four of TU’s five starters scored double figures, including Ray, who started his first game since a loss at Wichita State on Nov. 29. The win brought Tulsa’s win streak to 12 games, as they opened 10–0 in conference play. This season is their best start to conference play in the last 40 years; it’s the best start since the 1968–69 team also started 10–0 in conference.
Against SMU on Saturday, the Golden Hurricane shot a season-low 28 percent from the field and were unable to find a rhythm for most of the night on offense.
Tulsa scored the first points of the game on a three-pointer by Woodard, but within three minutes, SMU had the lead at 5–4. Tulsa would not lead again for the rest of the game. In the first half, the game was close, and Tulsa even brought the score to a tie on multiple occasions. The momentum was with SMU heading into halftime, however, as they ran a play after a timeout that left Ryan Manuel wide open for a slam dunk, giving SMU a six-point advantage.
The Golden Hurricane played a strong beginning to the second half and leveled the score once more at 43–43 with twelve minutes remaining in the game. From that point, SMU proceeded to go on a 15–0 tear, in which they kept Tulsa scoreless for a span of nearly eight minutes. The game was out of reach; TU couldn’t bring the deficit below ten for the rest of the game.
With the loss, Tulsa’s longest win streak since the 1999–2000 season was cut short at 12 games. Tulsa opened conference play by winning their first ten games; this loss is their first conference loss.
Despite losing to SMU, who is currently in second place, Tulsa remains on top of the American Athletic Conference standings at 17–6 (10–1 AAC). SMU has a 10–2 conference record, with two losses against Cincinnati. The Golden Hurricane return to action this Thursday, Feb. 12 on the road against UConn.