Three players scored in double-figures as Tulsa used a balanced attack in a 94-63 victory over North Texas on Saturday afternoon in front of 4,425 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. Tulsa improved to 5-2 in Conference USA action and 10-11 overall, while North Texas fell to 11-10 and 2-5 in league play.
Tulsa's James Woodard and D'Andre Wright shared the scoring lead for the Hurricane with 19 points apiece, while Woodard had a team-best eight rebounds and Wright added five boards. Rashad Smith returned from a six-game absence due to injury to score 17 points and add six rebounds in the Hurricane victory.
North Texas' Jordan Williams had 21 points, Brandon Walton 15 and Chris Jones 11 points to lead the Mean Green.
The Hurricane ended the game by shooting 57-percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 84-percent from the free throw line. The 90+ points is the fifth time this season that the Hurricane has scored over 90 points and the most since the 1999-2000 NCAA Elite Eight team had eight 90+ scoring games.
The 31-point win was the largest margin of victory in a conference game since Feb. 20, 2008 when Tulsa defeated Rice by a score of 68-37.
"Today was a game where we came out and had very good ball movement," Tulsa coach Danny Manning said. "We made some shots early and got on a nice roll offensively. I think it makes up for the defensive mistakes that we made, because we made quite a few defensive mistakes. We made our shots, and that covered up a lot of things. Overall, we played well. We rebounded well. I'm a little disappointed in our turnovers and assists, but when you shoot the ball the way we shot it, it covers up a lot of those mistakes."
Manning was pleased to have his 6'7" forward Smith back in the lineup today. "Rashad shot 7-of-10 with six rebounds for 17 points in his first game back," Manning said. "It is nice to have him back out on the court. Substitution-wise, we didn't want to leave him out there too long. He played 22 minutes tonight and it was a very effective 22 minutes."
Tulsa increased its 16-point halftime lead to more than 20 points in the first five minutes of the second half and to 32 points within the first eight minutes.
The Hurricane took a 17-point lead at 54-39 with 17:02 left on the game clock. From that point, Tulsa out-scored North Texas 10-0 for a 64-39 lead at the 13:51 mark. Shaquille Harrison's three-pointer gave Tulsa its largest lead of the game at 32 points, 72-40, with 12:03 remaining in the contest.
North Texas sliced Tulsa's 32-point margin to 20 points at the 7:51 mark after going on a 10-2 run over a span of 1:36 to make the score 76-26. Woodard's three-pointer, a Smith jumper and Wright layup put the Hurricane back up by 27 points at 83-56 with 6:02 remaining in the contest.
Walton's three-pointer at the 5:49 mark and Alzee Williams' free throw with 4:41 on the clock made the score 83-60, and it would be the only North Texas points until another Walton trey with 56 seconds left on the game. Tulsa out-scored the Mean green 11-3 over those final four minutes.
Tulsa jumped out to a 4-0 lead before North Texas scored the next five points to take a 5-4 advantage in the first three minutes of the contest. After ties at 5-5 and 8-8, the Hurricane scored the next five points for a 13-8 lead at the 14:22 mark.
North Texas cut Tulsa's lead to three point twice at 13-10 and again at 15-12, before the Hurricane went on a 10-2 run to take a 25-14 lead on a James Woodard layup with 8:10 remaining in the first 20 minutes. The Mean Green cut Tulsa's lead to nine points before the Hurricane took the double-digit lead again at 29-18 and never relinquished the double-figure margin the rest of the first half.
Rashad Ray's layup at the 5:52 mark put the Hurricane ahead by 15 points at 33-18. Tulsa kept the lead between 11 and 17 points before taking its biggest first-half lead of 18 points at 45-27 on a jumper by Harrison with 1:03 left on the first-half clock.
Tulsa went into halftime with a 47-31 lead.
Woodard had 13 points and Smith added 10 to lead the Hurricane in the first half. Tulsa out-scored North Texas 31-14 in the paint and had an advantage of 14-2 on second-chance points and 13-4 on fast-break points in the first 20 minutes.
Tulsa goes on the road for a two-game swing next week to face the LA Tech Bulldogs on Thursday for an 8 p.m. (CT) game that will be televised on CBS Sports Network (Tulsa Channel 249). The Hurricane continues its road trip with a Saturday, Feb. 8 game against the Rice Owls. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Tulsa returns to the Reynolds Center for back-to-back games against East Carolina and Old Dominion scheduled for February 13 and 15.