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TU Men Too Much For Rajin' Cajuns

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TULSA -

Rashad Ray and Marquel Curtis scored 16 points apiece in leading Tulsa (1-1) to a 64-53 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1) Monday night for the first victory in the Frank Haith era. The game between two 2014 NCAA Tournament participants was played in front of 3,889 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in the second game of a women's-men's doubleheader.

Tulsa let an 11-point halftime lead slip away in the first 7:53 after the intermission as the Ragin' Cajuns took a one-point lead at 35-34 for what would be ULL's only second-half lead of the game. After Tulsa's 12-1 run to end the first half, Louisiana came out of the locker room and went on a 14-3 run to take that one-point at the 12:37 mark on a jumper by JJ Davenport. Tulsa's only points in the first eight minutes came on a Rashad Smith dunk at the 18:27 mark of the second half.

The Hurricane jumped back ahead at 40-37 after a foul and double technical call at the 12:07 mark put Rashad Ray on the line for two shots for the foul and two shots for the technical, giving Tulsa a 4-to-1 exchange in that sequence. ULL tied the score at 40 less than two minutes later and kept within four points for nearly the next five minutes.

Tulsa would go on an 8-1 run in building a 10-point lead at 56-46 on a James Woodard steal and first two points of the game. Louisiana would get as close as nine points the remainder of the way, while Tulsa's biggest lead went to 13 points at 64-51.

“Obviously it's good to get that one on the left side of the column this time of year. I thought our guys really competed hard, played really really hard,” said Haith. “At this time of year, we're still learning about player movement, ball movement, sharing the ball moving without the ball. We weren't really good at that the other day and I thought tonight we obviously did much better even though we didn't shoot the ball great. You look at Shaq Harrison and James Woodard, our two captains, our two leaders, they just didn't have great nights. But the great thing about the win tonight is you had guys like Marquel Curtis and Rashad Ray step up and help us win.”

After five lead changes and three ties within the first 12 minutes, the Hurricane ended the first half on a 12-1 run to break a 20 all tie at the 8:01 mark, and take a 32-21 lead into halftime. Tulsa forced 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, while scoring 10 points off those takeaways.

Tulsa held Louisiana to 32-percent shooting from the field in the first half, as the Hurricane connected on 43-percent of its field goals. Rashad Ray scored 12 first-half points to lead Tulsa on 5-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-2 from three-point range.

Tulsa will be back at the Reynolds Center on Wednesday night against Abilene Christian for a 7:05 p.m. tipoff.

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