TU impressive in season-opening basketball win over LSU-Shreveport
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Monday, November 12, 2012
11/12/12 at 5:54 AM
Related Story: TU Basketball Notebook: Big crowd
During the 2011-12 basketball season, the University of Tulsa averaged 68 points, 51 field goal attempts and 15 3-point attempts per game.
Against LSU-Shreveport on Sunday, TU totaled 60 points, 34 field goal attempts and 13 3-point attempts - during the first half.
The Golden Hurricane's Danny Manning experience began with an explosive display of speed and offense. A Reynolds Center opening-night crowd of 5,689 watched freshman James Woodard score 28 points and TU roll to a 110-54 victory.
"I didn't know what to expect," said Manning, TU's first-year coach after having worked on the Kansas Jayhawks' staff for nine years. "We were hoping for the crowd that we got, and we were very happy and pleased with that. That was the best part of the night - walking out and seeing all the people and the support for our team. I thought the student section was great.
"I think if you look at the score, I hope people will recognize that there's a faster pace of play. We're going to get up and down. More tempo. I just hope the people keep coming back."
Against the NAIA Pilots, Tulsa shot 52 percent from the field overall, 13-of-26 from 3-point range, 25-of-30 on free throws (after having struggled from the foul line in two exhibitions) and committed only 10 turnovers in spite of the dizzying pace of play.
"Once we secure the rebound," said Hurricane senior guard Scottie Haralson, "we want to push it and try to get easy buckets."
Manning got 14 points from Haralson and 43 from his bench. Reserve freshman guard Rashad Ray totaled 11 points and six assists, while freshman forward D'Andre Wright was 8-of-10 on free throws and finished with 12 points.
When Doug Wojcik was dismissed, TU athletic director Ross Parmley mentioned declining attendance as having been a prominent factor in the decision to make a change. In only one of 15 home dates last season did the Hurricane draw a crowd of at least 5,689.
"The excitement is what we were missing," Parmley said. "I think Danny brings the excitement back. I've just been so impressed with him, not only with what we saw tonight but watching him coach in practice.
"He knows basketball, the kids respond to him and he brings excitement into the arena. Those are three things that really make a difference."
After having played well in the exhibitions, would Woodard remain an offensive force? Against LSU-Shreveport, the answer was a resounding yes. The 6-foot-4 left-hander from Edmond Memorial was 5-of-6 from 3-point distance, connected on all five of his free throws and had four assists.
With 28 points, Woodard had the highest scoring total by a TU freshman since Shea Seals scored 33 against Houston Baptist in November 1993.
"The coaches told me to stay aggressive, and that's what I tried to do," Woodard said.
At 18 years of age, Woodard already may be Tulsa's most complete offensive player.
"I think he's one of our most complete offensive guards, for sure," Manning said.
"James is a very talented basketball player," the coach continued. "We're going to put him in situations where he's going to have to be aggressive offensively. Tonight, he came out and did a very good job of making shots, but he's still a freshman. There will be valleys and peaks."
Tulsa's new style was evident almost immediately.
Within a one-minute span, there was a Haralson 3-pointer and a pair of treys by Woodard. A Shaq Harrison 3-pointer gave Tulsa a 16-5 lead. Another Haralson 3-pointer made it 30-13.
"We made some shots early and it kind of snowballed from there," Manning said.
Woodard converted again with a trey, pushing the Hurricane to its first 20-point lead at 33-13.
After having averaged 68 points per game last season, TU reached the 69-point mark on Sunday when Haralson swished a 3-point with 18:08 left to play.
With eight newcomers and six first-year freshmen, the Golden Hurricane next travels to California for a University of San Diego-hosted event. TU faces Northern Kentucky on Thursday, San Diego on Friday and Cal State Northridge on Saturday. TU returns home for games on Nov. 21 (vs. Jackson State) and Nov. 24 (Stephen F. Austin).
"San Diego is going to be good for us," Manning said. "Three games in three nights. Quality opponents. It will be a good way for us to test where we're at."
Vs. N. Kentucky
6:30 p.m. Thursday
Original Print Headline: Winning debut
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Tulsa freshman James Woodard tries to get around LSU-Shreveport's Rydell Harris during Sunday night's season-opening 110-54 win by TU at the Reynolds Center. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World