Checking in with Golden Hurricane men’s basketball

The Golden Hurricane men’s basketball team is approaching the middle of its regular season conference schedule, and has posted a 11–6 (3–2 American Athletic Conference) record so far.

As they wrapped up non-conference play, Tulsa won three of their four last non-conference games, with the wins coming against Iona (90–81), Missouri State 70–60), and Northern Arizona (90–55), all teams that Tulsa was expected to beat. The loss came on a road game at Oregon State, a 76–71 defeat to a team that has beaten a few good Pac-12 teams this season.

During this non-conference stretch, James Woodard, Shaquille Harrison and Rashad Smith each took a turn leading the Golden Hurricane on offense, and provided enough scoring when the defense was having an off day (such as giving up 81 points to Iona).

This far, Tulsa has played five non-conference games. They had a rough start, as they faced SMU first, who is the only remaining undefeated team in college basketball, and a then-No.22 ranked Cincinnati team. The Golden Hurricane dropped these games 81–69 to the Mustangs and 76–57 to the Bearcats.

Since those losses, though, Tulsa has won their last three games. The streak started with hosting East Carolina, which was a low scoring game, 55–43 in favor of the Golden Hurricane. They then travelled to play Tulane in New Orleans. The offense got back on track in this game, putting up 81 on the Green Wave in a 81–67 victory.

The final win in this streak has been the biggest conference win for the team so far, a home victory against UConn. For the second year in a row, the Golden Hurricane took down the Huskies at home in front of a ruckus crowd at the Reynolds Center. The Huskies jumped out to an early 11 point lead, but Tulsa chipped away and managed to tie the score before heading into the locker room at halftime. The score was knotted at 26 at that point. UConn again took the lead at the beginning of the second half, this time by 8, but the Golden Hurricane were resilient.

They took their first lead of the game with less than 5 minutes remaining and didn’t look back. Tulsa came away with the 60–51 win, highlighted by Shaq Harrison throwing down an epic reverse dunk on an alley-oop feed from Rashad Ray. The win against the Huskies put Tulsa in sixth place in the conference standings.

Tulsa had a good, but not stellar, showing in non-conference play this season. As a result, the Golden Hurricane will need to play well in the rest of conference play and make a deep run, if not win, the conference tournament to hope to make the NCAA tournament in March. If the team could pull off a long win streak, similar to their 10 game conference win streak last season, it would be a great boost for their season resume in the eyes of the selection committee.

Post Author: tucollegian

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