Tulsa kept pace in Conference USA with a 76-37 victory over the Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday afternoon in front of 4,609 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. Tulsa improved to 8-3 in Conference USA action and moved to over .500 for the first time this year with an overall 13-12 record, while ODU fell to 12-14 overall and 6-5 in league play.
Tulsa had a balanced scoring attack as James Woodard led all scorers with 14 points, followed by 12 from Tim Peete, Rashad Smith with 11 and Brandon Swannegan with 10 points, all coming in the first half. Ambrose Mosley came off the bench to lead ODU in scoring with 12 points, followed by 11 from Richard Ross.
Tulsa held Old Dominion to the fewest points allowed for an opponent since holding Rice to 37 points on Feb. 20, 2008. It's the fourth time since the opening of the Reynolds Center that the Hurricane has held an opponent to under 40 points (Rice, 75-33, Feb. 14, 2000; Rice, 68-37, Feb. 20, 2008; Jackson State, 92-39, Dec. 17, 2009). The Hurricane also held ODU's leading scorer, Aaron Bacote, averaging 16.6 points coming into the game, scoreless in 26 minutes.
Tulsa took its first double-digit lead at the 10:34 mark of the first half and built that lead to as many as 21 points in the first half, while taking a 20-point lead into halftime at 40-20. Tulsa shot 57-percent from the field and 50-percent from three-point range in the first 20 minutes.
The Hurricane continued its hot shooting in the second half and finished the game shooting 57-percent from the field and three-point range, while making all but one free throw (14-of-15) for 93.3 percent. Tulsa's defense continued to clamp down on the Monarchs in the final 20 minutes, holding the visitors to just 17 second-half points. For the game, Tulsa held ODU to 27-percent shooting from the field and forced the Monarchs into 22 turnovers.
"Today was a great effort day for us in terms of defense. We guarded well, stayed true to our principles, and just stayed active with multiple hustle plays. That is what you have to do to be a good team," said Manning. "Our guys were good defensively today. I'm very, very happy with their effort and how they came out in the first half and guarded. Numbers-wise, we appeared to play better in the second half based off of shooting percentage. They missed some shots that they normally make. Not too many times does their leading scorer not score. A couple guys did a very good job of face guarding him and made his catches hard."
In the first five minutes of the second half, Tulsa out-scored the Monarchs 15-6 taking a 55-26 lead at the 15:17 mark on a three-pointer by Lew Evans. A Rashad Smith free throw gave Tulsa a 30-point advantage 30 points with 11:08 remaining, while another Evans' trey gave the Hurricane a 61-30 lead at the 10:39 mark.
Tulsa increased its lead to the 39-point final margin of victory on three Nick Wood free throws with 1:02 remaining, while the Hurricane held ODU to two points in the final 7:18 of the game and scoreless in the last four minutes.
Evans' three-pointer at the 14:53 mark of the first half broke a 6-6 tie giving the Hurricane a 9-6 lead. ODU answered with a Mosley jumper, but the Hurricane then went on a 19-4 run to build a 28-12 lead with 8:29 left in the first 20 minutes. Woodard scored seven points and Swannegan added six points in that 19-point stretch for the Hurricane.
Tulsa closed out the half out-scoring Old Dominion 31-12 in the final 14:24 for a 40-20 halftime lead.
The Hurricane forced ODU into 13 first-half turnovers and out-scored the Monarchs 17-1 off turnovers, while the Tulsa bench had a 16-5 advantage in first-half scoring. Tulsa outrebounded OCU 17-8 through the first 20 minutes, while shooting 57-percent from the field and 50-percent from three-point range.
Woodard had 12 first-half points, while Swannegan matched his career-high in the first 20 minutes with 10 points, while adding three blocks and three rebounds. OSU's Richard Ross led the Monarchs with seven first-half points.
Tulsa takes to the state of Florida next week to face the FAU Owls on Thursday, Feb. 20th for a 6 p.m. tip-off and the FIU Panthers on Saturday, Feb. 22nd with a tip time of 1 p.m. The Hurricane continues on the road against the UTEP Miners on Thursday, Feb. 27.