Tulsa's comeback bid fell short as the UAB Blazers grabbed a 70-63 victory over the Golden Hurricane in front of 4,827 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center Saturday afternoon. Tulsa fell to 9-11 overall and 4-2 in Conference USA play, while UAB improved to 13-6 overall and 2-3 in league action. The loss snapped a seven-game home winning streak for the Hurricane.
UAB's Rod Rucker and Chad Frazier each scored 21 points as the Blazers shot just 37-percent from the field, but knocked down 19-of-24 free throws including 5-of-6 in the final 44 seconds. Tulsa went cold from the field in the second half, shooting just 30 percent, and being out-scored by the Blazers 37 to 28 in the final 20 minutes.
Tulsa's James Woodard scored 12 points to lead Tulsa, shooting just 5-of-14 from the field, while Rashad Ray came off the bench to add 10 points.
After the game was tied 40-40 with 15:08 on the game clock, UAB scored the next six points for a 46-40 lead. Tulsa's Ray brought the Hurricane to within two points at 48-46 on two free throws, a jumper and layup at the 9:26 mark. Two three-pointers and a free throw by Frazier put the Blazers ahead by seven points at 55-48 at the 8:04 mark.
UAB pushed the lead to 10 points at the 3:59 mark after a traditional three-point play by Rucker, knocking down a jumper and a free throw. Tulsa whittled the lead down to three points at 66-63 with 0:29 left on a Woodard layup, but the Hurricane would miss three jumpers and two free throws in the final 0:22 as UAB held on for the seven-point win.
For the game, the Hurricane forced UAB into 17 turnovers and made just six of their own, but the nation's second-ranked rebounding team out-rebounded the Hurricane 50 to 35 on the day.
"We didn't get off to a good start. Well not a good enough start. Going into this game we knew what type of team they were in terms of their effort on the backboard, rebounding the ball. We knew they were the second-best team in the country, and we didn't do anything to prevent it, or we didn't do enough to stop it," said Tulsa Head Coach Danny Manning. "You look at the stat sheet and yes they won the game, but you look at different categories and we did some things other than rebound the ball that were good, but we have to rebound the ball."
The two teams went back-and-forth in the first half with five lead changes and five ties. The biggest lead was four points for Tulsa when Lew Evans knocked down a three-pointer at the 5:39 mark for a 23-19 lead. After that, Tulsa held onto the lead for most of the remaining five minutes, except for two ties at 25-25 and 33-33.
Woodard's jumper in the paint with 0:19 on the clock put the Hurricane ahead 35-33 at halftime.
Evans led eight Tulsa scorers in the first half with six points, while UAB's Rod Rucker had 12 points for the Blazers. UAB held a 10-rebound edge, out-boarding the Hurricane 25-15 in the first 20 minutes, but Tulsa shot 43-percent from the field and holding UAB to 33 percent in first-half action.
Tulsa is back in action next Saturday, Feb. 1st as the Hurricane hosts North Texas in a 3:05 pm game.