TULSA, Oklahoma - As the Golden Hurricane is in the stretch run of the conference season, Brandon Swannegan is stepping up.

The 6'9” junior forward made his first career start Wednesday night, and scored a career-high 16 points. “It had a lot of emotions going on. I was pretty nervous, but once that horn sounded I was ready to go,” said Swannegan.

Swannegan's recent performance showed head coach Frank Haith that he deserved to be one of the starting five. "Brandon is one of those guys that's not very big, but he plays with great toughness,” explained Haith. “Even though he's light, he's learned angles and how to make shots through defenses.”

While Swannegan's new to the starting lineup, he's been a spark off Tulsa's bench all season. "I love energy. Energy, that's like my motto almost. When I came off the bench, that's what I wanted to do is bring energy and help the team anyway I can. In the start, that's what I want to do right off the bat instead of off the bench."

Swannegan's scoring is improving, but defense is his strength. He's fifth in the AAC in blocked shots, and had five key blocks in TU's overtime win against South Florida. "He's our best communicator on our team, too, on the defensive end,” Haith stated. “He really talks, which is extremely important to the success you have on the defensive end."

Tulsa is set to host Temple at 5:00 p.m. this Sunday at the Reynolds Center. Swannegan not only looks forward to talking up Tulsa during this game, but hopes to talk his team up all the way through March.