Men's Basketball: Tulsa
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Monday, February 11, 2013
2/11/13 at 5:35 AM
13-11, 5-5 C-USA
with D'Andre Wright
Weight: 225 pounds
After missing nine games with a left-leg injury, Wright returned to action on Feb. 2. He scored two points in 11 minutes at Memphis, then was scoreless in 10 minutes in a home loss to UAB. On Saturday, Wright's leg was mostly pain-free, and in 21 minutes off the bench he scored a season-high 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting in a victory over UTEP.
You are the son of a career military man and a native of Hampton, Va. - the hometown of basketball superstar Allen Iverson. As a military kid, where else did you reside?
Allen Iverson is a big man in Hampton. Huge. My dad used to watch him play high school games. It would be good to see (Iverson) get back into the NBA. We lived in Virginia, Texas, the state of Washington, Germany and Lawton.
You attended school in Lawton from sixth grade through your senior year at Eisenhower High School. After your dad retired from the military, why did your family choose to settle in Lawton?
My mom is from Oklahoma. She's from Enid. Even when we lived in other places, we always made trips to Oklahoma to see family.
You were in Germany from age 8 through 12. How was that experience?
It was an American military base, so I was surrounded by American kids. When you were off the base, you would get a European feel for everything. We had a German language class. I can count to 10 in German. Otherwise, I don't remember much of it.
It was a week of contrasts for the Golden Hurricane. On Wednesday, Tulsa trailed by as many as 24 points in the first half against UAB (then 1-6 in C-USA) in a 70-63 loss. On Saturday at UTEP (then 6-2 in C-USA), the Hurricane shot well, committed only eight turnovers and celebrated a 74-70 triumph. TU played without James Woodard, sidelined with what is believed to have been stiffness in his back.
The week ahead
Saturday: vs. Houston, 3:30 p.m.
For the second time in three weeks, the Hurricane gets an extended rest between games. On Jan. 23, in an 87-72 win at Houston, TU shot 51 percent overall from the field and 12-of-25 on 3-point attempts. Tulsa's Scottie Haralson was 7-of-12 overall, 5-of-8 on 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 19 points.
Houston (14-8 overall, 3-6 C-USA) was dealt a staggering home defeat on Saturday. With 8:22 left, the Cougars led Tulane by 19 points. Tulane rallied for an 88-85 win as Ricky Tarrant converted a layup/free throw three-point play with two seconds remaining.
The big picture
Welcome back, D'Andre Wright
For a TU squad ravaged by injuries, the return of freshman big man D'Andre Wright was the most prominent factor in Saturday's 74-70 road conquest of UTEP. Before missing nine games because of a December leg injury, Wright showed signs of becoming a force in the paint. He totaled 14 points and 11 rebounds against San Diego, 14 points and seven rebounds against TCU, and 15 points at Arkansas-Little Rock. With 26 seconds remaining at UTEP, after Shaq Harrison was unable to finish a transition layup attempt, Wright collected the rebound and dunked to give TU a seven-point advantage. Wright had his best performance of the season - 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
Road success a TU characteristic
While the Golden Hurricane played poorly in an 18-point loss at Marshall and played terribly in a 30-point setback at Memphis, Tulsa has become established as a pretty good road team in Conference USA. Through 10 league games, the Hurricane has played on the road six times. Its record is 3-3. Memphis is 5-0 in C-USA road games. Southern Miss has four league victories on the road. TU is the only other C-USA team with as many as three road wins. The Hurricane won 48-47 at SMU (on Pat Swilling Jr.'s late 3-pointer), won by 15 points at Houston and won on Saturday at UTEP.
TU's position in the standings
At 5-5, Tulsa is fifth in the Conference USA standings. In effect, Tulsa is fourth because Central Florida (7-2 in league play) is ineligible for the C-USA tournament because of NCAA sanctions. With an 11-team field, the tournament is set for March 13-16 at the BOK Center. The top five teams will get a first-round bye. With a top-five finish, the Hurricane would skip the Wednesday round and play first in the Thursday, March 14 quarterfinals. The Hurricane has a legitimate shot at getting hot down the stretch. The remaining regular-season schedule is favorable. There are home games with Houston (Saturday), East Carolina (Feb. 20), Tulane (March 2) and SMU (March 6). None of those teams is better than 4-5 in the conference. Tulsa has a Feb. 23 date at Central Florida and a March 9 game at Rice (1-8 in league play).