The Golden Hurricane men’s basketball team recorded two more conference victories this week, bringing their win streak to 9 games. Memphis had won the last 11 contests going back to the TU-Memphis conference rivalry in Conference USA.
In front of another large crowd at the Reynolds Center, Tulsa faced off against Memphis on Wednesday looking for their first home win against the Tigers since 1971.
The first half was tightly contested, with both teams playing slow in the first couple of minutes. On the strength of their defense and turnover game, the Golden Hurricane were able to take a 30–23 lead going into the break.
To begin the second half, the Golden Hurricane went on a 26–5 tear, doubling up the score of the Tigers as they pushed the lead to 56–28 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Tulsa’s defense had shut Memphis down, allowing only five points during that run. From that point on, however, the Tigers rediscovered their rhythm, and countered with fourteen consecutive points, bringing the lead down to 56–42.
They would get no closer to Tulsa as the Golden Hurricane countered the Tigers’ comeback with nine straight points, taking a 21-point lead with four minutes remaining to put the game out of reach and seal their sixth conference victory in the American.
The game ended 73–55 in favor of the Golden Hurricane. The smaller Tulsa lineup pestered the larger Tigers, forcing 17 turnovers over the course of the game.
Head coach Frank Haith had this to say after the win, “Defensively we were really good. We had active hands. I thought our energy, on both ends of the court, was really, really good. All-in-all it was a great win. I thought our guys played with great tenacity the whole game.”
The win brought the TU win streak to 8 games, giving them a 13–5 (6–0 American Athletic Conference) record. The Tigers fell to 11–7 (4–3 AAC).
Tulsa then traveled to face East Carolina on Saturday. In a game that was tightly contested throughout, Tulsa came away with their ninth win in a row, 66–64.
The victory was their second conference win this week. Tulsa started the game by leading for the first fifteen minutes, but after a strong push in the last five minutes of the half, East Carolina took a six point lead into halftime, 35–29.
As they did in the game against Memphis, the Golden Hurricane started the second half strong, turning the six-point deficit into a seven-point lead just seven minutes into the second half.
East Carolina never regained the lead, and Tulsa made key free throws off of offensive rebounds in the final minutes to put the game out of reach and grind out a win on the road.
With the win, Tulsa improved to 14–5 (7–0 AAC) and continued their 9 game win streak. East Carolina dropped to 8–11 (1–5 AAC). Tulsa’s 7–0 record in the American Athletic Conference puts them in first place by half a game over SMU, who have a 7–1 conference record.
The Golden Hurricane also continues its conference win streak, winning 18 conference games since last year. The last time Tulsa has lost a conference game was Feb. 6 of last year. For their next game, the Golden Hurricane travel to New Orleans to play Tulane. The game is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27, followed by a home game on Saturday against the USF Bulls.