Four Tulsa players scored in double figures, led by 15 points apiece from Scottie Haralson and D'Andre Wright, to take home a 77-71 victory at Rice Saturday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
James Woodard tallied a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Pat Swilling Jr. added 14 points for the Golden Hurricane, which ended the regular season with a 16-14 overall record and 8-8 mark in Conference USA play.
Tamir Jackson scored 30 points to lead the Owls (5-25, 1-15 C-USA), while Julian DeBose added 17 points and Austin Ramljak had 15 points. Tulsa shot 52 percent in the game, including 8-of-15 (.533 percent) from three-point range. The Hurricane outrebounded the Owls, 38-26.
Tulsa started the game on a shooting tear, making six of its first 10 field goals to storm out to a 15-2 lead by the 12:42 mark. Haralson knocked down three three-pointers in the game's first six minutes, and added a turnaround jumper to fuel the Hurricane on its opening run.
With his jump shot, Haralson had 11 points and reached 1,000 for his TU career. He became the 35th 1,000-point scorer in Tulsa history, and now has 1,004 career points.
Despite making just one of its next eight shots, the Golden Hurricane continued to play stellar defense and rebound as it did through the first half. TU forced Rice to shoot just 29 percent in the first half, and outrebounded the Owls 20-14 in the opening period. Rice was shooting 18 percent (4-of-22) before making four of its final six field goals in the half.
The Hurricane recovered from its 1-of-8 shooting slide to make the last four field goal attempts of the half and take a 33-19 lead into the locker room at the half.
Tulsa made four of its first eight shots to start the second half and build an 18-point, 45-27, lead at the 15:50 mark on a three-pointer by Swilling. The Hurricane lead grew to as much as 20 points, 52-32, with 11:43 on the clock on a Rashad Ray layup.
The Hurricane led 62-44 with 7:16 remaining, but the Owls slowly whittled away at the Tulsa advantage. Rice pulled as close as four points, 75-71, with 0:27 to play. TU got free throw each from Wright and Ray to make the final score, 77-71.
The Golden Hurricane will play in the Conference USA Basketball Championship next week, March 13-16, at the BOK Center in Tulsa. TU, which earned the fifth seed and a bye, will open the tournament against fourth-seeded East Carolina at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.