Tulsa defeats South Florida to rise to 5-1 in the AAC

TU 79, South Florida 67

Corey Henderson scored a career-high 22 points off the bench as Tulsa (11-7, 5-1 in the American Athletic Conference) won its fourth straight game with a 79-67 victory over the USF Bulls Saturday afternoon at the Sun Dome.

Eleven players scored for the Hurricane. Pat Birt added 15 points, Junior Etou 11 points and Sterling Taplin scored 10 for the Hurricane. UCF (6-12, 0-7 AAC) was led by Ruben Guerrero’s and Troy Holston’s 16 points.

Henderson converted 7-of-12 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point range and 5-of-6 from the free throw line in 26 minutes. He led a Hurricane bench that outscored the USF reserves 37-12.

Tulsa 89, Tulane 82

Taplin scored a career-high 24 points as the Tulsa Golden Hurricane held off the Tulane Green Wave for an 89-82 victory in American Athletic Conference play January 18 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.

Taplin added six rebounds, five assists and three steals in 30 minutes, while shooting 73-percent from the field (8-of-11) and converting on all seven of his free throws. Birt added 19 points and three steals, while Jaleel Wheeler scored 11 points, all coming in the second half.

“I thought our guys played well offensively. I thought defensively we only played in spurts, something we have to fix. I sense that we are getting better. Offensively, we are understanding spacing a lot better and sharing the ball. There were a couple plays I thought we were taking some forced shots, but other than that we were still shooting 52 percent,” said TU coach Frank Haith.

After trailing 15-3 in the first five minutes of the game, Tulsa outscored the Green Wave 39-13 in the final 15 minutes to take a 42-28 lead into the intermission. The Hurricane increased its lead to 18 points within the first 25 seconds of the second half, as Birt converted on a four-point play, knocking down a three-pointers and free throw for a 46-28 lead.

“There were many runs in this ball game. We got down early in the game because we were turning the ball over,” said Haith. “They were scoring in transition. Our transition defense wasn’t great but once we cleaned that up in the first half, we had some momentum. We got stops and rebounds. In the second half, they made some shots and we withstood it.”

Tulsa played at East Carolina (9-10, 1-5 AAC) January 25. Tulsa returns home on Jan. 28 for a 12:30 p.m. game against the UCF Knights (14-4, 5-1 AAC).