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TU Hoops Set For Road Matchup Against Houston

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THE GAME  . . .
•   The Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7-6) is coming off of an American Athletic Conference-opening 61-59 overtime win at home over the UConn Huskies on Saturday.
•   Houston is off to an 11-3 start and 2-0 in AAC play . . . the Cougars' only losses have come at LSU and Arkansas and home vs. Harvard.
•   Tulsa and Houston have been in three different conferences as co-members – Missouri Valley Conference, Conference USA and now the American Athletic Conference.
•   Since the two teams have been back in the same conference together, this being the third year, Tulsa has won four of the five games.
 
THE SERIES . . .
•   This is the 50th meeting between Tulsa and Houston.
•   Tulsa leads the series 27-22, including winning 7 of the last 8 meetings
•   Houston has a 13-10 record against the Hurricane in Houston, while Tulsa has a 16-9 mark against the Cougars in Tulsa and 1-0 at a neutral site.
 
TULSA IN THE AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE . . .
•   Tulsa is in its third season as a member of the American Athletic Conference, after finishing its first year in second-place and placing in a tie for third-place a year ago.
•   Tulsa has an overall 27-10 record in its third season of American play.
•   Tulsa had league records of 14-4 in 2014-15 and 12-6 in 2015-16.
•   In the preseason coaches poll, Tulsa was picked to finish ninth in the league, while Houston was selected to finish in fourth place . . . Cincinnati was picked first in the preseason poll.
 
COACH HAITH GETS 50th WIN AT TULSA . . .
•   While capturing its American Athletic Conference-opening win over UConn, it was also the 50th win for Frank Haith as the Tulsa head coach.
•   Haith now has a 50-29 record in his third season as the Hurricane head coach.
•   In his first two years, Haith led Tulsa to over 20 wins both years, including 23 in his first year and 20 victories a year ago.
•   Haith averaged 21.5 wins in his first two years, while leading Tulsa to an NIT in 2014 and the NCAAs in 2015.
 
QUICK HITS . . .
•   Tulsa is playing its 106th season of basketball.
•   Tulsa features only three players on its roster that appeared in a game at TU prior to this season – Pat Birt, TK Edogi and Sterling Taplin.
•   Tulsa graduated 9 seniors after last year's 20-12 season and NCAA tournament appearance, including losing 81-percent of its scoring and 78-percent of its rebounding.
•   Tulsa has 10 newcomers to its roster, including two juniors, one sophomore and five freshmen.
 
LAST TIME OUT . . .
•   Pat Birt scored nine of Tulsa's final 13 points, including three in overtime, as the Golden Hurricane pulled out a 61-59 win over the UConn Huskies to close out 2016 in a New Years Eve day game.
•   After going 0-of-6 from three-point range, Birt knocked down his first 3-pointer with 3:14 to play, breaking a 48-48 tie to put Tulsa ahead 51-48, and his second trey with 1:33 left made it 54-54.
•   With UConn leading 56-54, Jaleel Wheeler scored a game-tying driving layup with 0:07 left in regulation to force overtime.
•   Birt and Sterling Taplin shared Tulsa's scoring honors with 13 points apiece, while Taplin added six assists and two steals.
•   After shooting over 50-percent from the field and 60-percent from three-point range in the first half, UConn cooled down in the second half and ended the game converting 40-percent from the field and 32-percent from three-point range.
 
IN THE EARLY GOING . . .
•   Ten players have made their Tulsa debuts this season . . . they have accounted for 69.3 percent of Tulsa's total points, scoring 613 of Tulsa's 884 points thru 13 games.
•   Tulsa has out-rebounded 8 of its first 13 opponents this season, winning 5 of those games . . . among those 8 games, Tulsa has had 5 double-digit rebounding margins, including a high of 21 more than ORU.
•   After allowing 80+ points in the first two games (82.0 ppg), both losses, Tulsa held its next three opponents to 65.7 points per game for a difference of 16.3 points.
•   Tulsa has used 6 different starting lineups through 13 games this year.
 
BIRT MAKES THREE'S COUNT . . .
•   Senior Pat Birt was 0-of-6 from 3-point range against UConn, before hitting two straight in the final 3:14, to give Tulsa a three-point lead (51-48)and to tie the game (54-54).
•   Birt has come off the bench in 5 games this year and has shot .454 percent (10-of-22) from 3-point range, while in his 8 starts he has shot just 24-percent from 3-point range (12-of-50).
•   He shoots .336 from the field and .306 from 3-point range this year.
•   Birt scored a season-high 20 points off the bench, shooting 7-of-11 from the field (.636) and 6-of-7 from 3-point range (.857), in Tulsa's 74-51 win over Stephen F. Austin.
•   He entered the SFA game shooting 33-percent from the field and 28-percent from 3-point range . . . with that performance vs. SFA, his percentages rose to 37-percent overall and 36-percent from 3-point range.
 
FG PERCENTAGE UPS AND DOWNS . . .
•   In Tulsa's first two games, the Hurricane combined to shoot just 37-percent from the field (41-of-112).
•   In the next 9 games, Tulsa connected on .480 percent from the field (227-of-473).
•   Tulsa shot over 50-percent in 4 of those 9 games –– New Orleans (.544), Little Rock (.500), Texas State (.511) and Stephen F. Austin (.500).
•   But, in Tulsa's last two outings the Hurricane has converted just 31.9-percent overall and 19.2-percent from 3-point range . . . Tulsa shot a season-low of 26.9-percent from the field against Illinois State, and a season-low of 19.2-percent from 3-point range in each of the last two games (Illinois State, UConn).
•   Tulsa's season field goal percentage is up to .436 overall on the season.
 
GETTING BETTER FROM THE LINE . . .
•     After the first 3 games, Tulsa was shooting just 55.2-percent from the free throw line (37-of-67).
•     In Tulsa's last 9 games, Tulsa is shooting 69.8 percent from the line (134-of-187), improving its season average from .552 to .673.
•     Tulsa has knocked down 79.7 percent of its free throws (51-of-64) over the last three games .
•     After the poor free throw shooting in the first three games, Tulsa went the next three games hitting 75.9 percent from the line (44-of-58), including 13-of-16 at ORU for a percentage of .813 in that third game.
•     Tulsa connected on a season-best .821 from the line (23-of-28) against Illinois State at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

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