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Golden Hurricane Tries to Bounce Back

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Originally Published: Feb 8, 2010 8:21 PM CDT

J.B. Long
Oklahoma Sports Reporter/Anchor

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Golden Hurricane hasn't been crisp in nearly a month.

"I'm not so sure we feel good about ourselves right now," head coach Doug Wojcik said Monday, placing an emphasis on recapturing some of the confidence that defined this team during a seven-game winning streak to start 2010.

Since a 90-70 torching of UCF at home on Jan. 16, Tulsa (18-5, 7-2) has struggled to score points and, on occasion, battled the turnover bug. The fact that Wojcik and company are 4-2 over that stretch is a testament to the poise and experience of this veteran roster.

However, to turn the corner in time to make a stretch run--and earn an NCAA Tournament berth--the lineup may actually have to get younger.

"I do think Donte [Medder] has to play more," Wojcik said of his freshman guard, who hasn't seen more than seven minutes of action in TU's last four contests. "I've said that, and I've said that. I just probably need to act on that a little bit more [rather] than just saying it."

At least part of the offensive decline, averaging just 60 points per game in its last six outings, can be attributed to a change in opponents' defensive philosophy. Word has spread through Conference USA that you don't necessarily have to guard Bryson Pope or Bishop Wheatley along the perimeter in order to beat TU. As a result, the Golden Hurricane's competition is sagging off those players in favor of applying more double-and-triple-teams to senior center Jerome Jordan.

Even Ben Uzoh's production has sagged of late. TU's leading scorer was held to just five points in a home win over Marshall and seven in Saturday's road loss at UTEP.

Medder gives Wojcik an added perimeter threat that opposing defenses have to respect and perhaps some additional ball-handling as TU prepares for back-to-back home dates with Southern Miss,Wednesday at 7 p.m., and Memphis, Saturday at 6 p.m.

The Golden Hurricane has won 22 straight at the Reynolds Center, the third-longest active streak in the nation, including a 14-0 mark this season. Tulsa is currently tied with UAB for second place in the conference, one game back of first place UTEP.

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