Last week, The Tulsa Golden Hurricane played their final home game of the 2020-2021 men’s basketball season at the Donald W. Reynolds Center against the Cincinnati Bearcats, losing the game by a final score of 70-69.
Before the game began, however, Tulsa took time to honor their seniors who were playing in their final home game. Brandon Rachal, Darien Jackson, Elijah Joiner, and Emmanuel Ugboh are the four seniors who were honored before the game started with a brief video presentation and a framed jersey presentation. Shortly after the ceremony though, the warmups came off and gametime began in Tulsa.
Two minutes into the game, neither team had scored, but Cincinnati made a three-point basket to take the first lead of the game. Immediately after that Austin Richie, Darrien Jackson, Elijah Joiner, Brandon Rachal, Curtis Heyward, Jr and Rey Idowu ignited and put Tulsa on a 15-0 run to give the Golden Hurricane an early 15-3 lead. Cincinnati responded with their own scoring run of 7-0, bringing them back within five. After this, Cincinnati continued to break into Tulsa’s lead, eventually tying the game with just over 7 minutes left in the first half. For the remainder of the first half, the lead oscillated back and forth between Tulsa and Cincinnati. At the halftime break, Cincinnati led the game by a mere three points, at a score of 37-34.
The second half began with scoring by both teams, though after the first few minutes Cincinnati still maintained their lead. Just after the first ten minutes of the half had passed, Cincinnati increased their lead to nine points. Over the next minute both teams went back and forth. Curtis Heywood made a three-point shot to cut into Cincinnati’s nine-point lead and Tulsa began their comeback. Over the next six minutes, Tulsa continued cutting into Cincinnati’s lead and a three-point jumper by Elijah Joiner with two minutes left in the game tied the game at 67 points each. Roughly thirty seconds later, Brandon Rachal made two free throws that gave Tulsa a two-point lead. Unfortunately, this was not enough, as Cincinnati scored a free throw and a layup in the next minute and a half giving them a one-point lead. While Tulsa received the ball with twelve seconds left, they were unable to score and ultimately lost the game by a score of 70-69.
After the conclusion of the game, Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery spoke to the media and reacted to the game. “That’s a tough one. We had some costly turnovers, obviously that one at the end. It was unfortunate today. Both teams fought hard. We had some really, really costly turnovers that did us in at the end. Give Cincinnati credit they made the plays when they needed to, and we didn’t finish plays.” He went on to say, “We played good defense and got some clean rebounds. They hurt us on the glass tonight. We started dribbling the ball and quit settling and that allowed us to catch up. We were doing a good job executing in that stretch.”
Despite losing the game, several Tulsa players had high scoring throughout the game. Elijah Joiner scored a new career high 24 points and Brandon Rachal achieved his tenth career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Tulsa will finish its regular season competitions over the next seven days as they play UCF in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, Northeastern State University in Tulsa on Thursday and SMU in Dallas on Sunday.