Tulsa started the game hot, resulting in a 59-51 win over Houston in the AAC quarterfinals.
Shaquille Harrison set the tone after the tip, picking up points, rebounds and assists to help the Golden Hurricane take an early lead. D'Andre Wright advanced that lead 23-10 with a pull-up jumper at the 6:10 mark.
A few blocked shots on defense and made possessions on offense helped Houston cut the Golden Hurricane lead to just eight with three minutes before the half.
Eight Tulsa Turnovers and Devonta Pollard's back-to-back plays for his team led the Cougars on a 14-4 run by the half, cutting TU's lead 28-24.
The Golden Hurricane started the final half sluggish, getting majorly out hustled by Houston. The Cougars had 11 fast-break points, while Tulsa had none.
TU's lack of execution helped Houston tie the game 30-30 at the 15 minute mark. Then, a deep three from Cavon Baker gave the Cougars their first lead of the game (33-30).
Houston was hot on a 9-0 run, as Tulsa fell behind. The Golden Hurricane needed to pick it up, because a loss to Houston in the quarterfinals would pretty much kill the team's chance of making the NCAA tournament.
TU finally started making things happen, taking a 43-39 lead with eight minutes left to play, but threes from Baker kept the Cougars in close range.
In the end, Tulsa finished with a 59-51 win over Houston. "We found a way to win at the end," said TU head coach Frank Haith. “It wasn't pretty.”
Harrison (Tulsa)- 14 points
Pollard (Houston)- 14 points
The Golden Hurricane will face the winner of Cincinnati vs. UConn on Saturday in the AAC semifinals.