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TU Men's Basketball Gets 53-35 Win Over Auburn

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada -

Junior James Woodard scored 16 points and Tulsa held Auburn to 14 points in the second half to run away with a 53-35 victory Monday night in the MGM Grand Main Event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The Golden Hurricane, which shot 49 percent in the game, allowed the Tigers to score just two points in the final 10:39 while building the 18-point final margin. Junior guards Rashad Ray and Rashad Smith scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, and Smith added a team-high eight rebounds for TU.

Tulsa improved to 3-1 on the season, and will play Oklahoma State Wednesday in the Heavyweight Bracket Championship of the Main Event. That contest will tip at 10:35 p.m. CT and air on ESPN2.

The Hurricane led 28-21 at the half, and opened the second period with an 11-3 run to extend its advantage to 39-24. James Woodard capped the run at the 17:40 mark with one of his four 3-pointers in the game.

Auburn responded with five straight points to cut the lead to 39-29, but TU got jumpers from Woodard and Ray to extend the lead back to 43-29 with 13:15 to play. TU then went scoreless over 4:15, but allowed the Tigers just four points in that span. Cinmeon Bowers, who had 17 points and 15 rebounds for Auburn, made a layup with 10:39 remaining to make the score 43-33.

Shaquille Harrison converted a layup to break the Tulsa drought, making the score 45-33 with 9:04 remaining, and the Hurricane defense locked up for the remainder of the game. After Bowers' bucket, the Tigers did not score again until the 3:29 mark, while the Hurricane built up a 50-33 lead.

Tulsa made a season-high nine 3-pointers, shooting 53 percent from beyond the arc, and held Auburn to 31 percent from the field. The Hurricane turned 23 AU turnovers into 21 points, while giving up just 12 points off its 20 turnovers. Auburn held a slight edge in rebounding, 30-28 – the first game of the season in which TU did not win the battle on the boards. All of the TU scoring came from its starters, as junior guard Shaquille Harrison contributed nine points, and forward D'Andre Wright added three points.

After back-and-forth scoring at the outset of the game, Tulsa used a 10-0 run over a span of 2:34 to overcome a 16-12 Auburn lead and move ahead 22-16. The Tigers pulled within 22-19 before a Smith layup brought the TU lead back to 24-19.

A layup by Bowers with 7:03 left in the half made the score, 24-21 Tulsa. That was as close as Auburn got for the final 27 minutes of the game. Wright made a free throw, and Woodard hit a trey to give the Golden Hurricane a 28-21 lead at halftime.

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