D'Andre Wright led Tulsa with 13 points, and Rashad Smith had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 57-44 win at Houston Thursday evening at Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Hurricane won its 12th straight game, and improved to 17-5 overall and 10-0 in American Athletic Conference play. TU returns home for an American Conference showdown against No. 23 SMU at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
Rashad Ray and James Woodard each scored 11 points, and Marquel Curtis tallied eight rebounds, five assists and four points for TU. Danrad Knowles scored 10 points to lead the Cougars, which fell to 9-13, 1-9 in American play.
The Tulsa defense shut down Houston in the second half, allowing just 10 points on three field goals and a .125 shooting percentage. TU held the Cougars scoreless for long stretches, as it overcame a five-point halftime deficit with a 28-10 scoring advantage in the second period. The Hurricane kept Houston without a field goal for lengths of 6:23, 6:24 and 5:52 during the stanza.
Tulsa shot 52 percent in the second half, and 48 percent (24-for-50) for the game. TU tallied 14 assists, nine steals, scored 17 points off 13 UH turnovers, and finished with a 38-31 advantage on the boards. Houston ended with a .302 field goal percentage after shooting 45 percent in the opening half.
Houston led 34-29 at the break and opened the second half with a basket to extend its lead to 36-29. Wright, however, scored on a dunk off of a pass by Woodard on the other end to spark an 11-0 run that gave the Hurricane a 40-36 lead. UH cut the lead to 40-38 with 13:53 left – its first points in more than six minutes. Smith then sandwiched a jumper and a layup around a pair of free throws by Rashad Ray to make the score 46-38, extending the second half run to 17-4.
The Hurricane took its first double-digit lead, 50-40 with 8:10 to play, on a Swannegan jumper. Houston pulled as close as 50-44 with 5:52 remaining, on a 3-pointer by Eric Weary Jr., but Tulsa scored the final seven points of the game to pull away for the win.
Tulsa opened the game with an early 9-3 lead forcing a Houston timeout at the 17:56 mark. Wright made a layup and a jumper, Ray hit a three, and Woodard converted a layup to give the Hurricane the early advantage. TU led 13-5 after a jumper by Woodard, but Houston cut the lead to 13-11 with 14:50 left in the half on five straight points by Danrad Knowles.
Ray hit a 3-pointer to extend the Hurricane lead back to 16-11. Tulsa led 19-17, but a 3-pointer by Jherrod Stiggers gave the Cougars their first lead at 20-19. TU responded with a Woodard trey to retake the lead, 22-20, but Houston tied it again, 22-22 on a jumper by Weary. The teams alternated baskets over the next three minutes, and Ray's third 3-pointer of the half knotted the score at 27 apiece. Houston scored five straight points to move ahead, 32-27, before Woodard converted a jumper in the paint to make the score 34-29 at halftime.