Originally Published: Feb 19, 2010 5:40 PM CDT
Bobby Lewis & Kyle Dierking
Oklahoma Sports Mobile Journalists
TULSA, Oklahoma – Fans who expected the Golden Hurricane to breeze through conference games and dominate the league tournament that will be played in its own back yard have probably been let down. After starting league play 6-0, Tulsa has posted a sluggish 4-3 mark, dropping them to fourth in the Conference USA standings.
“Hey, we’re okay. Life goes on. The sun came up today,” said head coach Doug Wojcik. “(We’re) really approaching it that way.”
Despite the recent struggles, Wojcik sees the team’s final five games as a spring board for setting up a deep run in the conference tournament this March. When Tulsa matches up with Conference USA frontrunner UTEP this Saturday, more will be on the line for the Golden Hurricane than a simple win or loss. TU’s head coach says this game is more about reviving a team that has lacked the ability to close out games in recent weeks.
“You can only go around and be miserable for so long,” said Wojcik. “I think some people will overreact. It’s really about us and staying together and playing a good game.”
After another tough road loss on Wednesday night, the Golden Hurricane slipped to 1-3 in league games away from the Reynolds Center. The latest loss, a 64-58 downer at Marshall, leaves Tulsa looking up at a trio of teams that have all beaten them once this season.
“The perception is that (we’ve) disappointed,” Wojcik said Friday afternoon, “but, (we’re) respectable in every one of those games, (we) take a lead in the second half. (We) just don’t get it done.”
The Golden Hurricane gets a shot at getting it done this weekend. Last time the two met up, UTEP took down Tulsa in El Paso thanks to a balanced offensive attack. Four Miners scored in double figures, including a 12 point, 12 rebound performance from junior forward Derrick Caracter. Arnett Moultrie scored 10 points and added 11 rebounds for UTEP. Jerome Jordan led the Golden Hurricane with 20 points and five rebounds.
Game time is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday. Before the game, former TU and current Tulsa Shock head coach Nolan Richardson, will be signing copies of his book “Forty Minutes of Hell?The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson” beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the concourse area. Books will be available for fans to purchase.
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