TU might get confidence boost from big rally over ORU
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 29, 2012
12/29/12 at 6:37 AM
In last week's Mayor's Cup game at Oral Roberts, the University of Tulsa trailed by 17 points with 16 minutes left to play.
Final score: Golden Hurricane 72, Golden Eagles 68.
Can such a comeback have a lasting effect on the self-esteem of such a young TU team? Can the momentum from such an outcome carry the Hurricane to a Saturday victory over Florida State?
TU (7-5) and the Seminoles (7-4) are matched in a 1 p.m. Orange Bowl Classic contest at the BT&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The game is televised by Fox Sports.
"I don't know how much carryover there will be, but that (ORU) game is always something we can reflect on - being down and battling back," Tulsa coach Danny Manning said. "It's the confidence that you get from having handled that type of situation.
"Hopefully, we don't find ourselves with a 17-point deficit too many times, but it's good that we have the experience of overcoming it."
Sunrise is a community in the Miami area. Following the Friday practice session, Hurricane players were bused to South Beach. After two hours of sightseeing and shopping, the players returned to the team hotel, ready for Manning's scouting report on a Leonard Hamilton-coached Seminole squad that includes a 15.8-point scorer (6-foot-5 guard Michael Snaer), a 13.2-point scorer (6-8 forward Okaro White) and a 7-foot center (Kiel Turpin).
"The foundation for us is great first-shot defense, stay in front of the basketball and then rebound the ball," Manning said. "On the offensive end, we've got to have good ball movement, we've got to take care of the ball and we've got to have good body movement. That's how we want to play every game, regardless of the opponent. That's our system."
TU sophomore forward Rashad Smith is expected to miss his ninth consecutive game because of a foot injury. Manning says freshman forward D'Andre Wright probably will not play against FSU. Because of left-leg soreness, Wright played only seven minutes against ORU. He was unable to practice on Friday.
After opening his freshman season with a 28-point performance against LSU-Shreveport and 27 points against Jackson State, Tulsa guard James Woodard managed only four points against Missouri State and two against TCU. The lefty from Edmond appears to be back on track, having totaled 12 points and 10 rebounds at Arkansas-Little Rock, 15 points and 10 rebounds at Creighton, and 18 points (all in the second half) at ORU.
"James has to be a focal point of our offense," Manning said. "At the beginning of the year, he made things happen. (Opponents) started to scout him, learning his strengths and weaknesses, and now James has to adjust. Even when James wasn't scoring, he was still rebounding and defending. I wasn't worried about his confidence level.
"If an opponent guards him a certain way and limits his scoring, then he has to continue to rebound and defend and do things that help us win. In games when he wasn't scoring as much, I've seen no signs of frustration from James."
The BB&T Center is huge - a 20,737-seat venue and the home of the NHL's Florida Panthers. For some shooters unaccustomed to playing in such a setting, the lighting and background can result in depth-perception issues. Manning said he didn't detect any problems during the Friday practice.
"The goal is still the same height. The ball is still the same," he said. "As a player, I didn't have problems with anything like that. It's just another gym."
Original Print Headline: Comeback may boost TU confidence
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397