The Tulsa basketball team, led by 21 points from Rashad Smith and 18 points from Pat Swilling Jr., fought hard at No. 23 Creighton, but ultimately fell, 82-72, Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Center Omaha.
The Golden Hurricane (0-4) trailed by five points, 73-68, with just more than two minutes remaining in the game, but the Bluejays (4-0) outscored TU, 9-4, the rest of the way. Smith scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half, and Swilling buoyed the TU first-half run with 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
TU shot 43 percent from the field, while Creighton shot 52 percent from the field. The teams finished with equal rebounds – 37 apiece. CU's Doug McDermott led all scorers with 33 points, and Austin Chatman added 19 points.
Tulsa fell behind as many as nine points in the first half, 17-8, and trailed 21-14 with 8:55 remaining before the break, but a 10-3 run knotted the game at 24-24 at the 6:33 mark. The spread was no more than four points for the remainder of the half.
Harrison drove in for a layup to give the Hurricane a 37-36 lead with 2:14 left in the half. It was the first TU lead since the first basket of the game.
The Golden Hurricane went up by three, 39-36, on a Swilling layup, before a 3-pointer by Chatman tied the score. TU led once again, 41-39, on a layup by Swilling, and Chatman made a 3-pointer in the final seconds as Creighton took a 42-41 lead into the half.
The Bluejays opened the second half with a 13-4 run to extend its lead to 10 points, 55-45, at the 17:18 mark. Tulsa cut the deficit to below 10 points five times before the Creighton lead grew to 13 points at 71-58 with 6:14 remaining.
The Hurricane fought back to close the gap to five points with 2:10 on the clock with a layup by Smith, but McDermott hit a 3-pointer and Creighton went on for the 82-72 win.
The Golden Hurricane returns to action next week at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. TU opens the tournament against Indiana State at 10:30 p.m.