Shaquille Harrison scored a game-high 24 points in leading Tulsa to a 76-47 victory over the Incarnate Word Cardinals in front of 4,209 fans Monday night at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. The Hurricane improved to 7-5, while giving the Cardinals (8-2) only its second loss in 10 games.
UIW came into the game with a No. 45 NCAA Men's Basketball RPI Rating and road wins over Princeton, Nebraska and Grand Canyon.
It was Harrison's fourth straight 20-point scoring game for the Hurricane. James Woodard added 12 points and Marquel Curtis 11 for the Tulsa attack. Denzel Livingston led UIW with 16 points, six below his season average, while also holding Jontrell Walker, a 20.4 scorer, to only four points.
Tulsa held UIW to 40 points below its season average, while holding the Cardinals to 29-percent from the field and 18-percent from beyond the arc. UIW came into the game connecting on 48-percent of its shots and 39-percent from three-point range. Tulsa shot only 42-percent from the field, 24-percent from three-point range and 56-percent from the free throw line in the victory. The Hurricane grabbed a season-high 53 rebounds in out-rebounding the Cardinals by 20 boards, as D'Andre Wright had 10 caroms for the Hurricane.
“Obviously it was a great win for us, our guys were really, really focused. We had three really good practices going into this game,” said Tulsa Head Coach Frank Haith. “This is one of those games that is played right before Christmas break that you see teams across the country not being focused. So, I really want to congratulate our guys and commend them for their focused nature in terms of going through this game and preparing for it. We understood that we were playing a team with a high RPI, a team that was 8-1 and won on the road at Nebraska and we respected that with how we prepared.”
The Hurricane led from start to finish and went into halftime with a 25-point lead at 41-16. Tulsa increased the lead to 36 points in the first 7:24 of the second half with continued strong shooting and defensive pressure. Back-to-back three pointers from Rashad Ray made the score 59-23 with 12:35 remaining in the contest. Tulsa took its largest lead of the game at 64-26 on a layup and free throw by Harrison with 10:38 left on the game clock.
Tulsa managed to keep the lead over 30 points until Austin Henry's three-pointer with 0:06 remaining made the final score a 29-point margin for the Hurricane at 76-47.
Tulsa jumped out to a 15-2 lead to begin the game, including a 10-0 run, in the first five minutes as the Hurricane connected on 6-of-11 field goals. UIW stopped Tulsa's 10-0 run to make the score 15-4 at the 14:34 mark.
The Hurricane kept on the pressure and built a 31-9 lead with 8:23 left in the first half. A Curtis layup at the 7:10 mark made the score 36-11, but UIW's Livingston responded with the next five points to cut the deficit to 20 points at 36-16 at the 6:08 mark.
Tulsa answered the UIW 5-0 run with one of its own on a three-pointer from Harrison and layup from Rashad Smith to put the Hurricane ahead 41-16 with 3:05 remaining in the first 20 minutes. Neither team scored in the final three minutes as Tulsa went into halftime ahead by 25 points.
In the first half, Tulsa out-scored UIW 24-10 in the paint, had a 14-0 advantage on points off turnovers and a 10-0 edge in fast-break points. Harrison led the Hurricane with 15 points, connecting on 6-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 from three-point range.
Tulsa will be back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 31, as the Golden Hurricane travels to Orlando, Florida to play the UCF Knights. Tulsa returns to the Reynolds Center to face the Houston Cougars on Sunday, January 4th for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off.