Tulsa’s case for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament took a hit Sunday as the short-handed Golden Hurricane fell at Memphis, 92-82.
Four players scored in double figures for the Golden Hurricane (19-10, 11-6 American), including a career-high 15 points by freshman Sterling Taplin. Marquel Curtis matched his season high with 16 points, and James Woodard added 14 points.
Tulsa was without 6-7 forward Rashad Smith, who missed his second straight game with an injury, and TU battled foul trouble throughout the game. The Tigers (16-13, 7-9 American), meanwhile, made 31-of-39 free throws.
“We played five guards and it made it hard for us. I thought our guards fought like crazy to even give us a chance,” Tulsa coach Frank Haith said. “I applaud our guards’ effort in terms of competing and fighting against a much bigger and longer and athletic team. We were right there in the first half and it was all because of our guards’ effort to keep fighting.
“It was pretty frustrating out there today, no doubt about it. I thought our guys were really fighting hard. We just didn’t have any breaks go our way. They just kind of wore on us a little bit. We just don’t have any options. You kind of look down the bench and you didn’t have any way to hold in the middle of the road until we could get through it.”
Tulsa hosts South Florida at 4 p.m. Saturday.