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Tulsa Cruises Past Tulane At C-USA Tournament

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EL PASO, Texas -

Tulsa's James Woodard scored a game-high 24 points as the Golden Hurricane cruised to a 70-49 victory in quarterfinal action at the Conference USA Championship on Thursday afternoon.

It's the ninth straight victory for the Hurricane, the longest since Tulsa's 2000 NCAA Elite Eight team won 13 consecutive games. Tulsa improved to 19-12 overall record, while Tulane closed the year with a 17-16 mark.

Tulsa will play the winner of the Middle Tennessee-Old Dominion game in semifinal action on Friday at 2 p.m. (MT).

Woodard scored 18 second-half points, including all of Tulsa's four three-point baskets. Rashad Smith added 13 points and D'Andre Wright 10. Tulane's Jay Hook had 21 points and Jonathan Stark 14 to pace the Green Wave. Tulsa's defense shut down Stark in the second half as the guard had 11 first-half points, and held the Green Wave overall to 23 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.

The Green Wave did not have a two-point basket in the second half until the 2:03 mark when Trevante Drye had a layup, but Tulane had five 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes.

Tulsa shot 47 percent from the field in the game, but just 23 percent from 3-point range, and had a 42-32 edge in rebounding.

Tulsa took an 11-point lead within the first four minutes of the second half. Woodard knocked down Tulsa's first 3-pointer of the game at the 17:03 mark, and came back down the court for his second straight trey to put Tulsa ahead 43-32 at the 16:31 mark of the second half.

Rashad Ray's jumper put the Hurricane ahead by 13 points, 46-33, at the 13:43 mark, but Tulane hit three treys from Hook, Payton Henson and Hook again to bring the deficit back to six points at 48-42 over the next three minutes.

Tulsa scored the next seven points to push the lead back to 13 points 55-42 as Woodard knocked down his third trey of the game with 9:03 on the game clock. The Hurricane then out-scored Tulane 12-2 over the next seven minutes to build a 23-point lead at 67-44.

The Hurricane closed out the final two minutes to take the 70-49 victory and giving Tulsa its fifth C-USA semifinal appearance in the nine years as a league member.

Tulsa jumped out to a 6-0 start in the first four minutes to begin the game, holding the Green Wave scoreless until the 16:04 when Trevante Drye scored Tulane's first basket on a five-foot jumper in the lane. The Hurricane reached an 11-2 lead at the 14:25 mark for its biggest lead of the first half.

Tulane tied the game at 13 with 10:15 remaining in the first half on a layup and free throw from Louis Gafney. Tulsa scored the next seven points for a 20-13 lead at the 6:16 mark, but the Green Wave scored the next five points to cut the Hurricane lead to two points, 20-18.

The Hurricane held on to a 33-29 halftime lead, as Starks' five-footer in the lane at the buzzer brought the Green Wave to within three points.

All eight Tulsa players scored in the first half as Woodard, Rashad Smith, and Lew Evans led the Hurricane each with six points. Stark and Hook scored 21 of the 29 Green Wave points in the first 20 minutes.

Although Tulsa shot 50 percent from the field, the Hurricane was 0-of-6 from 3-point range and connected on just 53 percent of its 13 free throw attempts in the first half.

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