Rashad Smith scored 23 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead Tulsa to a 76-56 win over Northern Kentucky in the NUCDF Basketball Challenge Thursday evening at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
The Golden Hurricane (2-0) outscored the Norse (0-2), 42-20, in the second period to overcome a two-point deficit at the break. TU shot 59 percent from the field, and held NKU to 34 percent shooting for the game.
Tulsa erased an 11-point first-half deficit with a 13-1 run that straddled the intermission. The Hurricane, down 36-30 with 2:23 left in the opening half, closed the gap to 36-34 by the break. TU then scored the first four points of the second period to take its first lead of the game, and extended that advantage to 43-37 with 15:33 remaining in the contest. The run gave the Golden Hurricane a lead it would not relinquish.
"We didn't play a great first half, but we did enough to stay in the ballgame," Tulsa Head Coach Danny Manning said. "We were able to come out in the second half with a little bit more energy and a little bit more focus, and get a nice lead."
The Tulsa second-half lead swelled to 10 points at 49-39 with 13:21 left on a layup by Smith. Leading 63-53 at the 5:49 mark, the Hurricane went on a 14-2 run to extend its lead to 21 points at 76-55 with 1:05 left in the game. A free throw by the Norse gave the final 76-56 margin.
All 10 Hurricane players that saw significant action scored in the ballgame. Scottie Haralson scored 10 points with a pair of three-pointers, and Rashad Ray added nine points. Shaquille Harrison led TU with eight rebounds, and he and James Woodard, who put up eight points, tallied three assists apiece.
Northern Kentucky took an early 9-0 lead before Haralson hit a three-pointer for the first Tulsa basket at the 16:45 mark of the first half.
The Norse held a 10-point lead at 17-7 with 14:47 left in the first half. The Hurricane was able to cut the deficit to four points before NKU extended its lead again to 11 points just before Tulsa sparked its game-changing run.
The Golden Hurricane plays the host San Diego at 9 p.m. CT Friday. The game will be televised by Fox Sports San Diego, and will be live streamed online at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/usd.portal#.