University of Tulsa forward Jeriah Horne entered Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma State during a scoring lull of nearly eight minutes, and he ended the drought with a much-needed 3-pointer.
Eight more first-half points followed from Horne, who made his first four shots to ignite the Hurricane and help deliver a 74-71 win.
“When we were struggling scoring, he came in off the bench and made some big shots and got us going a little bit,” Tulsa coach Frank Haith said. “He’s an important guy for us. He’s starting to get his rhythm.”
Horne, a transfer from Nebraska who sat out last season, has scored 31 of his 74 points this season in the past two games while earning more playing time. He provided many of the TU highlights in last week’s loss at Utah, producing 15 points in the second half.
“I’m trusting in my teammates to find me,” Horne said. “Whether I get no minutes or a lot of minutes, I’ll do whatever it takes to win. Scoring is something that I’ve been blessed to do.”
On a team filled with veterans, including a starting lineup of upperclassmen, Horne has taken on the largest role of the team’s five newcomers.
“They’ve all had moments,” Haith said. “We’ve got to continue to grow those guys and to continue to develop them to where they’re consistent.
“I think Jeriah is starting to hit his stride a little bit. We need him to hit his stride. I think we’ve seen him playing a lot better, and we’ve got to bring those other guys along and get them more consistent.”
On Saturday afternoon, TU hosts No. 16 Kansas State, a team it defeated 61-54 last year in Wichita, Kansas. The Wildcats went on to have a record-setting season that concluded with a trip to the Elite Eight.
“Because of what they did in the postseason, obviously that was (among TU’s best wins) ... and we didn’t have Quan (leading scorer DaQuan Jeffries, who was injured),” Haith said. “It was a great win for us last year.”
Against Kansas State, which returned all five starters and was picked to finish second in the Big 12, the Hurricane has won six of seven meetings in the series — including all three games in Tulsa. TU has prevailed in 12 consecutive home games, moving to 6-0 this year with the victory against OSU.
“I think it’s a big win for us especially going into (a game against) another Big 12 team this weekend,” Jeffries said Wednesday night. “I think there’s a lot of motivation for us.”