Hurricane holds off Buffalo, 63-57
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Thursday, January 03, 2013
1/03/13 at 6:59 AM
When a quick pace is established, when offensive sets are correctly executed and when shots are falling, basketball can be a beautiful game.
What transpired on Wednesday was the antithesis of beautiful.
The University of Tulsa's offensive execution was a mess and its shooting was terrible - 39 percent from the field overall, 4-of-18 on 3-pointers and 15-of-28 on free throws. TU committed silly fouls and missed layups, and yet the Golden Hurricane squeezed a positive end result from a decidedly sub-par performance at the Reynolds Center.
Pat Swilling Jr. connected on two 3-pointers - the latter trey giving TU its first lead of the second half - while freshman James Woodard had 22-points and eight rebounds as the Golden Hurricane escaped with a 63-57 victory over the University of Buffalo.
"Today was a struggle offensively for both teams," TU coach Danny Manning said. "On both sides of the courts, both teams missed shots that they normally make.
"We've got to enjoy playing in grind-it-out games - ugly games that don't have any flow. Be tough to guard defensively. Be tough to execute when we need to. And be tough enough to get every loose ball. We grinded out a win tonight."
Completing the nonconference portion of its schedule, the Hurricane improved to 8-6. The 16-game Conference USA schedule begins with Sunday's 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net-televised contest at SMU. Manning is matched with his former Kansas Jayhawk coach, Larry Brown.
With a home loss to unbeaten Wyoming on Wednesday, Brown's SMU team fell to 10-5 overall and was dealt its first home defeat.
After bolting to a 9-0 lead over Buffalo, TU was outscored 24-17 during the rest of the opening half. Hurricane guard Scottie Haralson endured a tough half - 2-of-10 shooting overall and 0-of-5 on 3-pointers. By game's end, he had 10 points on 3-of-16 shooting.
For the 10th consecutive game, Tulsa forward Rashad Smith was sidelined with a leg injury. For the second consecutive game, forward D'Andre Wright did not play because of a sore leg.
Against Tulsa's depleted and foul-prone interior defenders, Bulls forward Javon McCrea scored 13 first-half points and finished with 22 along with 11 rebounds. Buffalo junior forward Cameron Downing, a former star at Tulsa's Memorial High School, had five points and four rebounds in 11 minutes.
During the opening minute of the second half, Richie Sebuharara connected on a 3-pointer, giving the Bulls their first lead at 27-26. Buffalo led by as many as five points before Swilling converted on a pair of 3-pointers. With 8:57 left, the Hurricane had regained a 46-43 advantage.
After failing to finish on a layup opportunity, Woodard became more focused offensively. He scored to break a 51-51 tie, then swished a 3-pointer to give Tulsa a 56-51 lead with 1:58 remaining. And with 54 seconds left, after collecting a Rashad Ray pass, Woodard scored to make it 58-51.
Woodard admitted to having been angered by the blown layup: "It had an effect on me."
"(Manning) said we played bad, but we already knew that," said Swilling, who was 3-of-4 on 3-pointers and totaled 11 points. "He said it was a good way to battle out a win. We leaned on our defense to win the game because we weren't hitting shots."
For a Tulsa team already staggered by injuries, there was yet another possible setback during the final minute. Redshirt freshman forward Brandon Swannegan, who missed seven games because of a stress-type leg injury, sustained an apparent right-knee injury during a scramble under the Hurricane basket. His status for the SMU game is uncertain.
7 p.m. Sunday
Original Print Headline: Hurricane holds off Buffalo
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
TU's James Woodard puts up a shot over Buffalo's Tony Watson as Jarryn Skeete looks on during Wednesday's game. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
Tulsa head coach Danny Manning talks to players during the first half of Wednesday's game against Buffalo. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World