Freshman Rashad Ray and junior Pat Swilling Jr. came off the bench to spark Tulsa in the first half and lead the Golden Hurricane to a 61-42 victory over the Missouri State Bears in front of a crowd of 4,105 at Donald W. Reynolds Center on Wednesday night.
Swilling, who was coming back from a wrist injury and playing in his first game this season, and Ray, who wasn't expected to play at the start of the day due to a knee injury, each scored 11 points in the 19-point victory for the Hurricane. Fellow freshman Shaquille Harrison scored 10 points and also led the Hurricane with seven rebounds and four assists.
The Hurricane bench, led by Swilling and Ray, totaled 30 points, while Tim Peete and Zeldric King added four points apiece.
Tulsa improved to 5-3, while the Bears dropped to 2-6.
The Tulsa defense held Missouri State's leading scorer Anthony Downing scoreless on six field goal attempts, while also pressuring the Bears into converting just 1-of-19 three-pointers. The Hurricane held the Bears to 29-percent shooting from the field and a season-low 42 points.
It was a tale of two halves as Tulsa shot just 39 percent in the first half and turned around in the final 20 minutes to shoot 61 percent and 48.8 percent for the game.
The Hurricane scored 33 points in the second half after holding a six-point lead at halftime. Missouri State scored the first four points of the second-half to cut Tulsa's lead to two points, 28-26. An old-fashioned three-point play by senior Kauri Black at the 17:02 mark put the Hurricane back up by eight points. Tulsa pushed that lead to 10 points at 40-30 with 14:02 remaining in the contest.
Missouri State cut the Tulsa lead back to five points at 40-35 at the 12:14 mark, but the Hurricane wouldn't let the visitors get any closer and built the lead to 15 points, 55-40 with just over four minutes left on the game clock. In that span, three-pointers by senior Scottie Haralson and Swilling put the game out of reach.
Both teams began the game sluggish, combining to score just five points in the first five minutes. Tulsa went out to a 7-2 lead on a Pat Swilling layup before Missouri State's Nathan Scheer knocked down a three-pointer at the 12:04 mark.
After totaling just 14 points in the first 10 minutes, the teams combined for 34 points in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Tulsa out-scored the Bears 22-15 to close out the first 20 minutes with a 28-22 halftime lead.
Tulsa returns to the Donald W. Reynolds Center this Saturday to face the TCU Horned Frogs for a 12 noon contest in the first game of a doubleheader as the Hurricane women will play Colorado State at 2:30 pm.