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Tulsa Pushes Past Rogers State, Wins 66-56

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Senior guard James Woodard scored 21 points to lead the Tulsa basketball team to a 66-56 exhibition win over Rogers State Tuesday evening at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.

The Golden Hurricane picked up its second exhibition win of the preseason while shooting 48 percent from the field, including 60 percent in the second half. Senior forward D’Andre Wright tallied 10 points, and Woodard added four assists.

“Rogers State plays hard. It was good for us to play a team that scraps, and they have really good shooters,” Tulsa Head Coach Frank Haith said. “From a preparation standpoint, we had to be on our toes. We were really good in the first half, and in the second half we let up. We knew they had two or three guys that could really shoot the ball, and we weren’t as intent as we needed to be defensively in the second half. I thought offensively we were better in the second half. (In the first half) we were executing, but we just didn’t make shots. This time of year, that’s not normal, but we need to play with the lights on and get those kinks out. That’s why we have those games.”

Senior guard Marquel Curtis, senior forward Brandon Swannegan and junior guard Pat Birt each tallied team-high five rebounds, as the Hurricane held a 40-36 advantage on the boards. TU recorded 11 steals, forcing 17 turnovers, and scored 44 of its 66 points in the paint.

Rogers State shot 35 percent from the field, and was led in scoring by guards J.C. Hartzler and Travis Hester, who finished with 15 points each.

The Hillcats scored the first four points of the game, but Tulsa responded by scoring the next six points on layups by Woodard, Curtis and senior forward Rashad Smith. The 6-0 TU spurt sparked a 26-6 run that gave the Hurricane a 26-10 lead with 3:07 remaining in the first half. TU held RSU without a field goal for 7:31 during that stretch. Tulsa led 30-17 at the half.

Woodard knocked down a 3-pointer to start the second half, and Smith followed with a trey to extend Tulsa’s lead to 36-17. Rogers State pulled as close as 40-27 on a layup by guard Donald Moore, but the Hurricane got a pair of free throws from Woodard and a layup by Birt to make the score 44-27 at the 14:35 mark. The TU lead grew as large as 19 points, 51-32, with 12:04 remaining after a jumper by Birt, who finished with four points. The Hillcats cut the lead to 60-50 after a three by Moore with 4:38 to play. The TU lead hovered between 10 and 12 points for the remainder of the game.

With his 21 points Tuesday, Woodard totaled 41 points in Tulsa’s two exhibition games, along with the 20 points he scored on Saturday against Haskell Indian Nations.

The Golden Hurricane officially opens the season Saturday at 4 p.m. against Central Arkansas at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. The game will be televised by ESPN3, and broadcast on Big Country 99.5 FM, and the Hurricane Radio Network.

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