Four players scored in double-figures as Tulsa pulled away in the second-half for a 73-57 victory over the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Saturday afternoon in front of 4,214 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
Tulsa's 16-point first-half lead was sliced to two points, but the Hurricane managed to grab a second-half double-digit lead and keep it for a 16-point victory. D'Andre Wright, Rashad Smith and James Woodard each scored 12 points to lead the Hurricane, while Shaquille Harrison added 11 points and a team-high five steals.
Michael Williams had 20 points to lead the Titans, while Josh Gentry added 15 points.
The Hurricane forced 16 turnovers and had a 20-6 advantage in points off turnovers, including tallying 12 second-half points off CSUF miscues.
"We created a lot of deflections. We got some steals. We were able to get out and get some points off their turnovers, which is really good for us," said Manning. "Any time we can score 20 points off of the other team's turnovers that means we're turned up and active defensively."
Tim Peete's layup to start the second half gave Tulsa a six-point lead, but the Titans cut it to one point on a Williams' layup at the 17:15 mark. Tulsa built its lead back to eight points at the 13:19 mark, but CSUF managed to keep Tulsa's margin to under double-digits until Woodard's three-pointer with 7:43 on the clock put the Hurricane ahead by 11 points.
CSUF cut the Tulsa lead to nine points twice, but couldn't get it any closer. Alex Harris' dunk with 4:23 remaining cut the Hurricane lead to 59-50, but the Hurricane made it a 14-point margin on two free throws by Woodard, a dunk by Smith and a Harrison free throw putting Tulsa ahead 64-50 with 3:14 to play.
The Hurricane increased the lead to 18 points with 1:53 to play and led by as many as 19 points on a Nick Wood three-pointer with 0:42 left in the game.
Tulsa jumped out to an 8-0 start on three-pointers by Harrison and Lew Evans and a six-foot jumper by Brandon Swannegan before CSUF scored its first points at the 15:57 mark on a three-pointer by the Titans' Williams.
Wright's layup at the 14:07 mark gave Tulsa its first double-digit lead at 14-3. The Hurricane increased the lead to 17-3 when Rashad Ray knocked down only his third three-pointer of the season with 13:22 remaining in the first half. Woodard's trey at the 10:32 mark gave Tulsa a 15-point lead, 21-6.
Manning was pleased with how the Hurricane began the game, jumping out to an the early double-figure lead.
"We moved the ball around. I thought our big guys were very effective and very efficient. At halftime every one of their bigs had two fouls," said Manning. "So that meant that our big guys were working hard and were catching the ball in deep post position, which is what you want. Our guards were doing a good job of finding them and that was very important to me."
For the next four minutes Tulsa went cold from the field, scoring just three points on free throws, until Woodard knocked down a jumper to stop the field goal drought at the 6:41 mark, and put Tulsa ahead by 11 points at 26-15.
Rashad Smith's layup at the 4:22 mark of the first half, giving the Hurricane a 30-16 lead, would be Tulsa's last two-point basket of the first 20 minutes.
CSUF closed the gap to nine points, 30-21, on a Marquis Horne free throw at the 2:34 mark. The Titans cut the Hurricane lead to two points at 30-28 with 0:29 on the clock.
Fullerton closed out the first half by out-scoring the Hurricane 12-2 in the final four minutes. Tulsa's only points came on two Evans free throws with 0:06 left on the first-half clock to give the Hurricane a 32-28 halftime lead.
It was a balanced Tulsa scoring attack in the first half with seven Hurricane players scoring, led by Wright's seven points. CSUF's Williams led all scorers with 12 points on 4-of-6 from the field and 3-of-5 from three point range.
Tulsa remains at home to start Conference USA action on Thursday night against the Tulane Green Wave.