This past week, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane finished up their regular season basketball games. Two games were played, and Tulsa lost the first game in Orlando, Florida, against the University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights by a score of 73-69 and won the second game against the Northeastern State University (NSU) Riverhawks by a score of 107-74.
In the first game of the week, UCF led for all of the first half, and at the end of the first half had Tulsa trailing by a score of 37-21. Despite being down by 16 points at the halftime break, Tulsa came storming back in the second half and went on a 12-3 run to begin the half. After continuing their comeback, they took their first lead of the game with just under 12 minutes left in the second half. Despite increasing their lead to seven points with just under six minutes left, they were unable to retain their lead as UCF outscored Tulsa 14-3 to end the game with a 73-69 win. Brandon Rachal led the scoring for Tulsa with 16 points, Darrien Jackson followed with 13 points and Keyshawn Embry-Simpson and Elijah Joiner scored 11 points each.
After the game was completed, Tulsa Coach Frank Haith spoke to the media and reacted to the close loss: “Obviously, it was a tough one. We just didn’t finish it. We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half. We were real timid and we turned the ball over.” He continued, “We executed better in the second half obviously, and defensively we were better in the second half.”
In the second game of the week, Tulsa led for most of the first half and was up by a score of 53-34 at the end of the first half. During the second half, Tulsa continued to increase its lead and eventually led by as much as 36 points. For the second time this year, Tulsa passed the 100-point mark en route to a 107-74 win. Brandon Rachal led the scoring for Tulsa as he scored 18 points. Following this were Austin Richie with 15 points, Keyshawn Embry-Simpson with 14 points, Darien Jackson and Emmanuel Ugboh with 11 points each and Rey Idowu with 10 points.
After the game, Frank Haith said, “It was good to see us come off a tough loss just two days ago and guys came out and competed, particularly on the offensive end. I think we’re playing better. We’re sharing the ball and doing some things on offense much better here in the last half of the season.”
The regular season is now over for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane as they finished with an 11-11 record for the season five games back of the league leading Wichita State. The Golden Hurricane will be playing in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) tournament on Thursday at 2 p.m. as the number seven seed. While they are not expected to win the tournament, it remains to be seen how things will finish out for Tulsa. Even one win in a tournament game would make the ending of the difficult second-half of the season better for Tulsa.