TU in fifth place with Tulane win
Tulsa moved into a fifth-place tie with UAB and East Carolina Saturday with a 78-66 win over Tulane here Saturday.
TU trailed by 43-23 at halftime but rallied in the second half, outscoring Tulane 55-23.
The Golden Hurricane (15-13, 7-7 Conference USA) entered the day tied for sixth with Tulane (18-11, 6-8) and UAB.
“Tulane came out in the first half and dictated tempo and got whatever they wanted,” said TU coach Danny Manning “They’re a good team. Davis is one of the best post players, and Tarrant is one of the best point guards. We had a little momentum going into half time when we went on a little mini run. We came out in the second half, and our guys played the way that we like for them to always play. They scrapped and battled to come back from down 20 points says a lot about them. I am really proud of the young men in our locker room.”
The second half comeback came piece by piece.
“We tried to win 4 minute segments in the second half,” Manning said. “That was our focus. So when one section was over, we wanted to win the next segment and keep going until the end of the game. Once we got down to that last four, we were in decent shape in terms of the overall flow of the game. Our guys continued to battle. That is something that we talk about. I don’t think we played that hard in the first half, but we played much better in the second half. We were also much better defensively. We guarded certain stretches effectively.”
“We really turned up our energy,” TU’s Scottie Haralson said of the second half burst. “In the locker room we said we really had to pick it up. I felt like we played harder than them in the second half. That momentum carried us over into the offensive end as well as the defensive end. We did a good job of holding them to one shot and one rebound. We forced turnovers and got out in transition. It was a good overall team win.”
The Tulane defense was effective in the first half.
“In the first half, they hit us with the soft pressure to make us slow down, and we fell right into it,” Manning said. “We didn’t attack or press up the court to put pressure on Tulane. It took us a while to figure out how to go to the middle and attack. They had their way with us early on. They also shot some shots that good shooters make.”
The win took a team effort.
“Everyone contributed today,” Manning said. ” I think that’s why won. We had a lot of guys play a lot of minutes for us. When one guy goes in, he is supposed to raise the energy level a little higher than it was before, and everyone really did that for us today.”
“I think that experience will help a lot come tournament time,” Haralson said. “Knowing that we’ve been down before will help. We know we have to start games better but I think that we’ll be pretty good.”
“It’s an understatement to say it was a tale of two halves,” said Tulane coach Ed Conroy. “I thought we had a good game plan coming in, and credit our guys. I thought we played very good and unselfish basketball and were solid defensively in the first half. I challenged them to wipe the score off and continue to get good looks because that consistent play is what you need and obviously we came out in the second half and Tulsa outplayed us in every way. It started with our poor shots, they picked up their ball pressure but we handled it much better in the first half. We took some bad shots, got some shots blocked that led to some transition baskets for them. In the half-court, they used their quickness, and we really never got stops in the second half and it made for a tough half.”
Celebrating Legends Day also provided some incentive.
“For us, this was a game that we definitely wanted to play well,” Manning said. “It was Legends Day, and all of our former letterwinners are back. We talked to them before the game and let them know how appreciative our team was for everything they did to get Tulsa Basketball to where it is today. We had a lot of incentive to come out and play better in the second half.”
The TU crowd, especially the students, also gave a boost to the Golden Hurricane.
“I thought our crowd was great,” Manning said. “Our students were good. I was disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to see their flash mob. They were outstanding though and helped inspire us in the second half.”
TU ended the regular home season Wednesday in a game against SMU. Tulsa travels to Rice Saturday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.