For Tulsa basketball team, home games are must-wins
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
1/16/13 at 8:47 AM
If the University of Tulsa basketball team has any chance of contending for the Conference USA title, it must win home games and it must find ways to beat opponents from the upper half of the league.
"We want to hold tight at home," Golden Hurricane guard Scottie Haralson said. "We can't lose big ones at home."
Wednesday's game - with TU hosting UTEP in a 7 p.m. league clash at the Reynolds Center - certainly qualifies as significant.
While the Hurricane enters at 10-7 overall and 2-1 in the conference, the Miners are 9-6 and 2-0. UTEP's overall record is misleading. This is a hot team, having prevailed in six of its last seven contests (including C-USA wins over Tulane and Marshall, along with a triple-overtime conquest of Oregon).
UTEP played a difficult nonconference schedule that included a 21-point setback at Arizona and losses to Oklahoma, Clemson and Vanderbilt in the Old Spice Classic at Orlando, Fla.
"We were 1-4 and wondering what was going to happen," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "We got a real narrow win against New Mexico State (55-54) and then a narrow win against Idaho (64-60). We started to learn how to win again."
The Miners' nonconference schedule also included home meetings with Oral Roberts (a 69-49 Miner victory), UNLV (a two-point loss) and Nebraska (a 16-point win).
"When we made our nonconference schedule, we thought it would be interesting for our fans. We wanted to play nationally relevant games and bring some of them home," Floyd explained. "No. 2, we knew such a schedule would help us in recruiting. We feel that it did.
"That kind of schedule can either break you or make you. Right now, we feel like it's helping us get better. We hope it gives us a chance to compete when we come back to Tulsa (in March) for the conference tournament."
The presence of guards Konner Tucker and McKenzie Moore makes UTEP a more formidable team. Each missed the first seven games. Tucker had a hand injury, while Moore was waiting to become eligible after having transferred from the City College of San Francisco.
UTEP attacks with balance as Tucker averages 13.4 points, forward Julian Washburn averages 13.1, center John Bohannon averages 11.1 (on 61 percent shooting) and guard Jacques Streeter averages 9.0.
"They're playing very well right now," TU coach Danny Manning said of the Miners. "They have a lot of guys who are capable of putting the ball in the basket. We don't feel we've put together a complete game yet. We're striving to be a team that plays great basketball for 40 minutes."
TU has gotten 55 percent of its scoring from first-year freshmen, but Floyd says he now views Hurricane rookies as seasoned college players.
"Generally, young players don't understand how hard they have to play. On film, I'm looking at a (Hurricane) team that plays as hard as any team I've seen all year," Floyd said. "They really, really compete. This time of the year, I tend to believe that freshmen are no longer freshmen. They've got enough games under their belts.
"We don't see the experience thing as being advantageous - and particularly with the game being at Tulsa."
In 17 UTEP-TU games played in Tulsa since 1997, the Hurricane has prevailed 13 times.
"The most important thing is to win home games," Tulsa junior guard Pat Swilling Jr. said, "regardless of who we're playing."
UTEP (9-6, 2-0 Conference USA)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F ||Washburn|| 6-7|| 13.1|| 4.4|
|F|| Lang|| 6-9 ||5.1 ||4.5|
|G ||Tucker ||6-4 ||13.4|| 2.4|
|G ||Moore ||6-6|| 7.4|| 4.6|
|G ||Streeter ||6-0|| 9.0|| 1.7|
Tulsa (10-7, 2-1)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F ||Black ||6-8 ||6.6 ||5.2|
|G ||Peete ||6-4 ||2.8 ||2.6|
|G ||Haralson ||6-4 ||9.5 ||3.5|
|G ||Woodard ||6-4|| 12.9 ||6.1|
|G ||Harrison ||6-3 ||6.1|| 3.6|
TU sets 'Ladies' Night'
TU's inaugural "Ladies' Night with Danny Manning" event is set for Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Reynolds Center. The clinic is open to women only and will provide information on basketball basics and a behind-the-scenes look at the Golden Hurricane program.
The two-hour program will begin at 6 p.m. TU assistant coach Shea Seals, the program's career scoring leader, will discuss the history of Hurricane basketball.
Participants will receive a T-shirt, learn basketball fundamentals, take a tour of the TU locker room and facilities, and have the opportunity to be photographed with Manning, the Hurricane's first-year head coach.
Girls in seventh through 12th grade are not allowed to attend because the NCAA considers them to be recruitable athletes.
A portion of the $25 registration fee will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
For registration information, call 918-631-3132 or e-mail Seals at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7:05 p.m. Wednesday
Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
Original Print Headline: Home wins are a must for Tulsa
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397