The Golden Hurricane men’s basketball team split their conference games this week, falling on the road at Houston, but bouncing back with a home victory against Tulane.
In Houston, the Cougars jumped out to a quick 9–0 lead. After the Golden Hurricane had started to chip into the lead, Houston went on another run, this time a 12–0 run, which pushed their lead up to fifteen points. They ended the half with nearly that large of an advantage, as the score was 40–27 at the intermission. Tulsa shot poorly in the first half, converting on a mere 27 percent of their attempts from the field.
The second half featured much of the same play as the first, as Tulsa continued to struggle offensively. At one point, the Cougars were able to push their lead up to 24 points, and fended off any hopes of a Tulsa comeback to earn the 81–66 victory.
Included in Tulsa’s shooting struggles for the game was a horrid 3 for 26 from behind the three-point arc, good for 11.5 percent. Pat Bird was the high-point man for the Golden Hurricane, scoring 16 points.
After the loss, Tulsa returned home to face Tulane, the last-place team in the American Athletic Conference. The game started out ugly. Each team had trouble shooting, and turned the ball over frequently. The Golden Hurricane were able to grab the lead with an 11–2 run, that put them ahead 19–10. They couldn’t push the lead any farther in the first half, and took a 27–21 lead into the break.
In the second half, Tulsa started to shoot better, and Brandon Swannegan started to take over the game. He scored 12 of his career-high 19 points in the second half, and the Green Wave didn’t have an answer for him in the low post. Freshman Sterling Taplin also had a strong game, as the Golden Hurricane were able to pull ahead for a comfortable lead that turned into an easy win.
Tulsa now sits at 14–7 (6–3 AAC) on the season. Five different teams all sit behind SMU in the conference standings with three losses, but Tulsa is tied with Cincinnati for second place at the moment with their win total of six.
Up next for the Golden Hurricane is a trip to Philadelphia to face the Temple Owls on Feb 4, before they return home for a chance to avenge the loss to Houston on Feb 7.