To say the Tulsa Golden Hurricane is off to a great start in the Phillip Montgomery era might be a slight understatement. After all, the team has won its first two games of the season under the new head coach – one at home and one on the road.
Tulsa won its first game with Montgomery at the helm, a 47-44 overtime home victory against Florida Atlantic. Then the Golden Hurricane won this past Saturday, a 40-21 win at New Mexico, in front of 24,167 at Branch Field at University Stadium, in Albuquerque.
“I’m feeling great right now,” Montgomery said after the game. “Any time you can go on the road against a quality opponent, New Mexico, and Coach (Bob) Davie and his staff. It’s a tremendous staff over there, so to be able to come in here and get us a win – it’s just a great team win – all 3 teams, defensively, offensively, and special teams.”
Tulsa racked up over 600 yards for the second consecutive week, as Zack Langer and D’Angelo Brewer rushed for over 100 yards and one touchdown each. Keyarris Garrett and Josh Atkinson each had over 100 yards receiving. The Hurricane rushed for 279 yards and passed for 321 yards on the night.
Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans completed 16 of 30 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Atkinson and Keevan Lucas each caught a TD pass.
“New Mexico did a really good job disguising what they wanted to do,” Evans said. “They have a really active d-line and linebacker crew and they got to us a couple times. I thought our O-Line did a good job picking it up. Receivers did a good job knowing when we could get the ball out of our hand quick.”
Montgomery said the Golden Hurricane had to make adjustments throughout the game.
“We changed some things on what we were doing with the quarterback and the pitch guy,” he said. “I thought our guys on the inside did a tremendous job stuffing the inside run stuff, so everything was happening on the perimeter. We just had to make open field tackles and play assignment football.”
Tulsa scored 10 points in each of the four quarters, with Redford Jones kicking four field goals; 34 yard, 22 yards, 23 yards, and 24 yards.
“I take my hat off to Redford (Jones),” Montgomery said. “He’s a guy that has kind of been battling some things and he stepped up and was big tonight. We did not do what we wanted to do and we left a lot of points out there on the football field, but Redford stepped in there every time and knocked them stiff. Just a tremendous effort.”
New Mexico scored on the team’s first possession of the game, on a Teriyon Gipson 13-yard run. Tulsa answered with a TD and FG in the quarter, but the Lobos scored another touchdown to lead 14-10 after the first quarter.
Tulsa held New Mexico scoreless in the second quarter, and the Golden Hurricane led 20-14 at halftime.
The Lobos scored only once in the second half, on another Gipson rushing touchdown from four yards out, and Tulsa never relinquished the lead. “Our biggest asset tonight was the way we finished,” Evans said. “It was a close game at half time, it was a close game all the way and then we just finished the game good. The o-line just said ‘run behind me’ and that’s what we did. We have to keep having games where we don’t turn the ball over, that’s key no matter who you’re playing.”
TU will play the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman on Saturday at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
SHOCK IN PLAYOFFS
The Tulsa Shock opens the 2015 WNBA playoffs with game one in Phoenix Thursday night. The Conference Semi-Final is a best-of-three series with the higher seed, Phoenix, hosting the opening game and the third game, if necessary.
The Shock will host the Mercury in game two of the series, at the BOK Center Saturday night, September 19. Tip-off time is set for 8 p.m. to accommodate television. Game 1 will be broadcast on ESPN2, with Games 2 and 3 on NBA-TV.
Tickets for the home game are on sale at the BOK Center .