The University of Tulsa men's basketball team showed up ready to take on William & Mary on Tuesday night, winning 70-67 in round one of the NIT.
Tulsa got the tip, but William & Mary got on the board first with a deep one from behind the arc. Rashad Smith then posted points for TU with an easy one under the basket to begin TU's paint domination. Two threes, one from Marquel Curtis and one from James Woodard, helped the Golden Hurricane take an 8-3 lead three minutes into the game.
Halfway through the half, TU led 21-15 after an alley-oop from Rashad Ray to Shaquille Harrison.
At this point, the Golden Hurricane looked good on offense, moving the ball around and scoring on nearly every possession.
The 30 second shot clock didn't affect Tulsa; it actually looked as if it worked in the team's favor, after a couple violations and rushed shots from WM. Plus it sped up the game, which may explain why Tulsa kept transitioning so quickly.
A put-back rebound by Curtis escalated Tulsa's lead 34-29 with just two minutes left of the first. By this time, Curtis led all-scorers with 11 points.
TU finished the half with a 39-32 lead, shooting 51.7 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from behind the arc, and 80 percent from the free throw line. William & Mary finished the half shooting 39.3 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from the three, and 75 percent from the free throw line. Tulsa also killed WM 20-6 in the paint.
The Golden Hurricane opened the second half with two back-to-back buckets from Woodard a.k.a. Juice. Woodard was just getting warmed up, sinking another three with 15 minutes left of play.
By the 14 minute mark, the Golden Hurricane carried a 53-34 advantage.
WM's coach wasn't happy about the game, yelling from the sideline and landing a tech (with just under 12 minutes before the finish), which helped the Golden Hurricane tally two more points to their lead.
William & Mary didn't lay down, cutting TU's once 21 point lead to three by the buzzer (70-67).
Curtis led Tulsa with 21 points, while Woodard trailed with 15.