Hurricane report: Tulsa’s defense key to winning streak

With their most recent victory over conference opponent USF, the Golden Hurricane men’s basketball team (12–5, 5–0 American Athletic Conference) continues their hot play as they bring their win streak to 7 games.

Tulsa ended non-conference play on a high note, winning their final two games against Missouri State (74–70) and Incarnate Word (76–47). Guard Shaquille Harrison paced the offense in those games, scoring over 20 in each of them. The wins gave the Golden Hurricane a 7–5 non-conference record, with the beginning of their season featuring highlights such as a win over Creighton and blemishes such as losses to Southeast Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts.

Conference play began on New Years Eve, as the Golden Hurricane were in Orlando to face the University of Central Florida. Tulsa saw a 15-point advantage slip away in the second half, but managed to hang on and win a close game, 56–54.

Back at home for their second conference game, the defense again held their opponent, the University of Houston, to 54 points, but the offense found its footing once more to give them a comfortable margin of victory in a 72–54 win.

The streak was brought to three games in a trip to Temple University in Philadelphia. Similarly to the game against UCF, one team pulled ahead for a double digit lead; the Golden Hurricane were on the opposite end of that lead in this game, though. Shaquille Harrison scored 19 points in the second half, however, and Tulsa came back from 11 points down to win 63-56.

The fourth conference game saw defending national champions the University of Connecticut visit Tulsa. In a packed Reynolds Center, forward James Woodard paced the team with 21 points to help Tulsa stop a UConn rally and to give the Golden Hurricane a 66–58 win over the Huskies.

The Golden Hurricane then traveled back to Florida, this time to Tampa to play the University of South Florida. Woodard scored 21 points for the second consecutive games, and TU pulled ahead from a five point halftime lead to win 75–58, giving them their fifth conference win in as many games.

With their 5–0 record in conference play, Tulsa is in first place as the only remaining undefeated team in the American Athletic Conference. They lead SMU (5-1 in the AAC) by half a game. The team’s defense has played strong against conference opponents; no conference team has scored 60 points in a game against the Golden Hurricane so far. Harrison and Woodard have paced the offense, as they have each been averaging 15 points per game this season.

The Hurricane look to keep their hot streak going and go for their 17th straight conference win (including their 11 game winning streak last season in Conference USA) against the Tigers of Memphis, who are fourth on the American and on their own 3-game winning streak, on Wednesday evening at the Reynolds Center.

Post Author: westanderson

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