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Tulsa Opens Preseason With A Win

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Senior guard James Woodard scored 20 points and tallied nine rebounds to lead four Tulsa players in double figures as the Golden Hurricane defeated Haskell Indian Nations, 87-62, in an exhibition game Saturday afternoon at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.

True freshman guard Sterling Taplin scored 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and tallied three assists. Senior center Emmanuel Ezechinonso and junior guard Pat Birt each scored 10 points, and Birt picked up nine rebounds. Woodard was 6-for-12 from the field with three treys, and added three assists.

“You just want to give your guys the first chance to play in front of folks. It was about what I expected,” Tulsa Head Coach Frank Haith said. “It was a good experience for us to get through it and get this game in, and we have to get better from it. Emmanuel played well today. James quietly had a great night with 20 points and nine boards. You expect him to go out and do what he does. All-in-all, I just want to see us get this game out of the way, learn from it, and get ourselves ready to play on Tuesday.”

The Golden Hurricane shot 39 percent from the field (27-for-70), hit 10 3-pointers, and tallied 15 assists to seven turnovers. Haskell shot 37 percent from the field (20-of-54), and was led in scoring by guard Ralston Moore, who had 14 points, and guard Duelle Gore, who tallied 10 points. TU forced 19 turnovers, and the rebounds were even at 43 apiece.

Tulsa started the game with a 12-0 run, beginning with a 3-pointer from Taplin on the game’s first possession. Smith knocked down a three to make it 8-0, and put an exclamation point on the run with a steal in the backcourt and a dunk. Haskell got on the board with a 3-pointer by guard Justin Narcomey with 16:04 to play in the first half.

The Hurricane extended its lead to 17-4 on a jumper in the paint by senior guard Rashad Ray at the 13:49 mark. Haskell pulled as close as 20-13 with 9:25 left in the half on a jumper by guard Joe Moudy. Tulsa then used a 12-4 run to push its lead back to 32-17 on a free throw by Woodard with 5:19 to go in the half. Senior forward Brandon Swannegan hit a jumper in the paint on a pass from Woodard to make the score 39-19 with 1:36 remaining in the period. TU went into the locker room with a 39-23 halftime lead.

Haskell closed the score to 39-25 at the beginning of the second half on a jumper by forward Tsalidi Sequoyah. TU then got a layup by senior forward Rashad Smith and a jumper by Woodard to bring the lead back to 18 points, 43-25, at the 18:35 mark. A jumper by Birt made the score 47-28 with 15:58 to play, and a three by Woodard at the 11:56 mark gave the Hurricane a 22-point, 59-37, lead.

Ezechinonso knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 78-47 with 5:48 to play. He was 6-for-7 from the free throw line in the game, and converted his last six attempts. Sterling hit a jumper to give TU its largest lead at 34 points, 85-51, with 4:14 remaining. Birt connected a pair of free throws to make the score, 87-55, with 2:47 left, and Haskell scored the last seven points to reach the 87-62 final score.

The Golden Hurricane will play a final exhibition game Tuesday, Nov. 10 against Rogers State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Reynolds Center. 

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