TU basketball team defined by its scoring balance
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
11/21/12 at 3:53 AM
Through the first four games of Danny Manning's first season as the head coach, the University of Tulsa basketball team is defined by balance.
Nine players are averaging at least 12 minutes per game. Five players are averaging at least 9.5 points per game. The scoring leaders are freshman guard James Woodard with a 15.5-point average and sophomore forward Rashad Smith at 14.5.
"We'd like to have balance. Balance makes the system fun to play in," Manning said. "On any given night, any player - if he has it going - can be the guy that night. As a player, that was always a fun way to play. That's the system we have envisioned.
"A lot of times, we're going to start a lineup, and a couple of those starters might not finish the game because somebody else comes in and plays better. That's just how it's going to go."
For Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. clash with Jackson State at the Reynolds Center, Manning is expected to go with the same five - forwards Smith and Kauri Black, along with guards Woodard, Scottie Haralson and Shaq Harrison - who started in each of the first four games.
Jackson State is 0-1, having lost 78-47 at Baylor. TU is 3-1, having followed the 110-54, opening-night annihilation of LSU-Shreveport with last week's two-win, one-loss trip to San Diego.
"I still feel really good about our team," said Haralson, averaging 13.3 points thus far. "We faced some adversity in California, and we'll learn from that.
"It was a good trip. It could have been a great trip."
In a three-game event hosted by the University of San Diego, the Golden Hurricane opened with a 76-56 triumph over Northern Kentucky. TU had an early 11-point deficit, then rallied with a 13-1 run and put the game out of reach with a 14-2 run. Smith was Tulsa's scoring leader with 23 points.
Against the host San Diego Toreros, TU scratched back from an eight-point deficit to take a 25-24 halftime lead. As Hurricane freshman forward D'Andre Wright recorded a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double, Tulsa limited San Diego to 34 percent shooting overall and prevailed 63-51.
On Saturday, Cal State Northridge was a 92-76 winner over TU. After trailing 42-26 early in the second half, the Hurricane twice rallied to within two points (53-51 and 61-59). By game's end, TU had committed 20 turnovers. Smith totaled 15 points, Woodard 14 and freshman point guard Rashad Ray 13.
"We can't be putting ourselves in a hole like that, game after game," Haralson said. "It takes a lot of energy to come back. We showed a lot of fight and heart, though."
Said Manning: "Every game could be an adventure. We're playing six freshmen. The good thing is, they don't know. The bad thing is, they don't know. So far, I can't fault them for the effort level they've put out. They do try extremely hard. It's just a matter of us tightening up a little more the details across the board."
Manning certainly can't be critical of TU's shooting. Thus far, it has been excellent - 51 percent overall from the field and 77 percent from the foul line. Opponents are shooting only 35 percent from the field.
"We want a lot of possessions created by our defense," Manning said. "We want (opponents) to shoot one contested shot, rebound and then we want to get up and down the court. We talk about time, score and momentum when we're taking shots - and understanding your range - but we want our guys to be aggressive."
After facing Jackson State on Wednesday, the Hurricane hosts Stephen F. Austin for a 3 p.m. Saturday contest.
"We've got two at home - back home in front of our crowd," Haralson said. "We've got to bounce back and get two wins."
Jackson State at Tulsa
7 p.m. Wednesday,
Jackson State (0-1)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F ||Coleman|| 6-7|| 3.0|| 2.0|
|G|| Stubbs|| 6-1 ||16.0 ||2.0|
|G ||Williams|| 6-1|| 3.0 ||2.0|
|G ||Lewis ||5-10|| 0.0 ||0.0|
|G ||Taylor ||6-5|| 4.0 ||6.0|
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F ||Black|| 6-7|| 6.5 ||5.0|
|F|| Smith ||6-7 ||14.5|| 4.8|
|G ||Haralson|| 6-4 ||10.3 ||3.8|
|G ||Woodard ||6-4|| 15.5|| 4.0|
|G ||Harrison|| 6-3 ||3.5|| 4.0|
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397