Hurricane seeks victorious recovery at Central Florida
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, February 23, 2013
2/23/13 at 4:23 AM
Two wounded basketball teams collide in Saturday's 3 p.m. Conference USA game at the UCF Arena in Orlando, Fla.
Dogged by three consecutive losses, Central Florida has a fractured morale.
"We've got to regroup and stop feeling sorry for ourselves," Knights coach Donnie Jones said.
As freshman point guard Rashad Ray was inactive because of concussion symptoms, the University of Tulsa squad was staggered by Wednesday's 72-63 home loss to East Carolina.
For Tulsa, there had been an opportunity to achieve a three-game win streak for the first time since November. That possibility dissolved when the Golden Hurricane played poorly at crunch time, got below-average production from its usually reliable freshmen and finished a dismal 6-of-19 at the foul line.
TU wasted an excellent performance by senior Scottie Haralson, who in 36 minutes totaled 20 points and nine rebounds. He dished four assists while not committing a turnover.
With a victory, Tulsa (14-12 overall, 6-6 C-USA) would have been tied with UCF and UTEP for third place in C-USA. With the defeat, TU is stuck in the middle of the league standings.
Only a few days ago, the Knights were 7-2 in conference play. That was before consecutive losses to Memphis, UTEP and Marshall. On Wednesday, on their home floor - and in spite of a 23-point, 11-rebound performance by Isaiah Sykes - the Knights were beaten 82-70 by Marshall.
About UCF, Hurricane coach Danny Manning said, "We have to play with sustained effort and energy throughout the whole course of the game. And, obviously, we've got to make our free throws."
On Feb. 6, UAB stung the Hurricane 70-63 at the Reynolds Center. It was a third consecutive defeat for TU. Next on the schedule was a daunting assignment - a game at UTEP. TU won 74-70.
That's the challenge for Manning now - to replicate that same kind of recovery on Saturday.
"Nobody feels sorry for us," Manning said. "Nobody cares about our hardships. We don't care about anybody else's. That's not being rude or anything. That's just how it is in competitive athletics.
"We just have to lick our wounds and get ready to go fight. Our back is against the wall right now, going to Central Florida."
The status of Ray and freshman guard Shaq Harrison may not be determined until Saturday morning. Ray sustained a blow to the head during a practice session before the East Carolina contest.
During that game, Harrison lost his balance on a dunk attempt and fell heavily onto the Reynolds Center court. He is being checked for a possible back injury.
"I think it's more than the wind getting knocked out of him, (but) I think he'll be OK," Manning said of Harrison, who has started in all 26 games this season. "I would imagine (after) a fall like that - I would think you're going to be quite sore for a while.
"Not too many guys will get up from that type of spill and walk off. Shaq is a tough kid. Very nasty spill. I think he might have even bounced a little bit."
3 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
Original Print Headline: Hurricane looks for victorious recovery
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397