BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Monday, January 07, 2013
1/07/13 at 6:49 AM
Related Story: TU-SMU game reunites former Kansas players, coach
DALLAS - SMU outscored the University of Tulsa by 15 points on free throws. The Golden Hurricane didn't score during a span of seven minutes and wound up with only 14 second-half points.
And yet, TU escaped with a 48-47 victory in a Conference USA basketball opener for both teams.
The reunion of SMU coach Larry Brown and Tulsa coach Danny Manning - the central figures of Kansas' 1988 national championship team - attracted attention to Sunday night's contest, but Hurricane junior guard Pat Swilling Jr. stole the show.
During the first half, Swilling connected on five 3-point shots. During the second half, after a 14-point TU lead had become a four-point TU deficit during the final minute, Swilling did not score until only 3.8 seconds remained.
With the Hurricane trailing by two points, Swilling hit what qualifies as TU's biggest shot this season - a 3-pointer from the left corner, lifting Manning's inexperienced and undersized squad to a one-point triumph.
"I like the pressure of the big moment," said Swilling, who totaled 18 points for the Hurricane (9-6 overall, 1-0 in C-USA).
"If you look at the stat sheet, it was a tale of two halves," Manning said. "We played well in the first half. Pat, in particular - he carried us. He made a lot of big shots. Coach Brown made great adjustments and (the Mustangs) played great in the second half.
"We played good for about a minute (during the second half) - and that was the last minute of the game."
After leading 34-17 at halftime, the Hurricane was scoreless during the first seven minutes of the second period. At the end of a 16-0 run, the Mustangs led 42-40.
More than 19 minutes into the second half, Tulsa had scored a grand total of eight points (while committing a second-half total of 13 turnovers).
There was nothing to suggest the Hurricane was about to respond in a winning way - but it happened, starting with Scottie Haralson's 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining.
At the other end, SMU's Nick Russell stepped to the foul line. He missed on the first attempt and was good on the second. SMU was up 47-45.
During the final Tulsa possession, as the clock dwindled to 3.8 seconds, Swilling sank the money ball - the left-corner trey that doomed SMU to its second consecutive home loss. Before falling to Wyoming last week and to TU on Sunday, the Mustangs were 5-0 at Moody Coliseum.
"I'm a pretty confident player," Swilling said. "When I shot it, I thought it was going in. I was praying, wishing (and) hoping that it would go in."
The Hurricane, Brown said, "made six points in the last 22 seconds and 14 for the half - and we lose the game."
With Jalen Jones scoring 15 points and Cunningham 12, SMU dropped to 10-6 overall, 0-1 in league play. Brown and Manning are matched again on March 6 at TU's Reynolds Center.
As three Tulsa forwards - 6-8 D'Andre Wright, 6-7 Rashad Smith and 6-7 Brandon Swannegan - were inactive on Sunday because of leg injuries, Manning's team had a pronounced size deficit but still managed a 37-27 rebound advantage over SMU.
SMU was 17-of-20 at the foul line.
Because TU lacks a low-post attack and relies so heavily on perimeter shooting, the Mustangs were whistled for just nine fouls.
Tulsa had only two free throw attempts, with freshman Shaq Harrison swishing both in the first half. The Hurricane did not attempt a foul shot after halftime.
"It's mind-boggling how we (won), to be honest with you, if you look at the stat sheet," Manning said. "The funny thing is that this game was not coach Brown versus me. It was SMU versus Tulsa. Nobody talked about the players in the game.
"We played a good first half. (SMU) played a good second half. All in all, it was an entertaining game."
During the opening half, TU was tremendous - outshooting SMU 45 percent to 25 percent, committing only six turnovers and rolling to a 17-point cushion.
"Collectively, I think that's the best we've played all year," Swilling said.
6 p.m. Wednesday
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
TU's Pat Swilling Jr. hits the game-winning 3-pointer to defeat SMU 48-47 Sunday in Dallas. SMU's Shawn Williams shoots in front of TU's Scottie Haralson during Sunday's game. STAN OLSZEWSKI / The Dallas Morning News / AP
SMU's Shawn Williams shoots in front of TU's Scottie Haralson during Sunday's game. SMU's Shawn Williams shoots in front of TU's Scottie Haralson during Sunday's game.STAN OLSZEWSKI / The Dallas Morning News / AP