Ailing Hurricane seeks win at UTEP
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, February 09, 2013
2/09/13 at 7:31 AM
One week after recording a five-point home win over UTEP, the University of Tulsa basketball team went to Houston and popped the Cougars 87-72.
Within the Golden Hurricane program, morale was high. Optimism seemed justified. In spite of injuries and such a heavy reliance on freshmen, TU was 4-2 in Conference USA play.
In advance of Saturday's 8 p.m. rematch at UTEP, TU's desperately needs something positive.
Since playing and shooting really well at Houston, the Hurricane shot just 35 percent from the field in a 62-59 loss to Southern Miss and shot 34 percent in a 30-point defeat at Memphis.
On Wednesday at the Reynolds Center, TU was matched with a UAB squad that entered with a league mark of 1-6. After trailing by as many as 24 points, the Hurricane rallied to within four points. Nine minutes remained - plenty of time for Tulsa to complete the comeback.
It didn't happen.
After closing to within 56-52, the Hurricane missed on 12 of its next 13 field goal attempts. The Blazers left with a 70-63 victory.
"We're just beat up right now," said Hurricane freshman guard Rashad Ray, who had 17 points and five steals against UAB. "We've got a lot of injuries. People are playing minutes they never played before. We're short on players. We needed more, like James Woodard. D'Andre (Wright) can't give us too much right now because he still has the ankle injury."
Appearing to experience back pain while also favoring a sore leg, Woodard played only eight minutes against UAB. Before sustaining a stress-type injury in his left leg in December, the 6-foot-9 Wright had emerged as a difference-maker in the paint. After missing nine games, he got only 11 minutes at Memphis and 10 against UAB.
Freshman forward Zeldric King sustained a foot injury last week. He underwent surgery and appears to be finished for the season. Forward Rashad Smith hasn't played since November because of a leg injury - believed to be a stress fracture.
The beat-up Golden Hurricane now prepares for battle at UTEP. TU is 2-8 in its last 10 contests at UTEP.
"We know they've got a good crowd there and a good team," said TU senior forward Kauri Black, the team's only big man to have played every game this season. "We know what we have to do."
For the first time this season, Tulsa (12-11 overall, 4-5 C-USA) has a three-game losing streak. Since losing at TU on Jan. 16, UTEP (13-8, 6-2 C-USA) has prevailed in four of five games.
"We've just got to play hard - play with effort and energy. From there, we'll see where the chips fall," TU coach Danny Manning said.
8 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
Original Print Headline: Ailing Tulsa is seeking a win at UTEP
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397