TULSA MEDIA RELATIONS
TULSA MEDIA RELATIONS
East Carolina answered Tulsa's second-half run and outscored the Hurricane 14-7 in the final five minutes to claim a 72-63 victory on Wednesday night at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Pirates against the Hurricane. Tulsa dropped to 14-12 overall and 6-6, while East Carolina improved to 15-10 and 6-6. The Hurricane trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, and led by five points twice in the second half. Tulsa's poor free throw shooting, only converting six of 19, on the night helped seal Tulsa's fate.
"East Carolina came out and threw the first punch and we didn't recover too well. They were more aggressive than us in the first half and we were able to go on a little bit of the run and get within striking distance at halftime," said Tulsa Head Coach Danny Manning. "We came back out in the second half and we went on a run, and it becomes a nip and tuck game. Then Akeem Richmond shakes loose for two threes back-to-back and that put us behind the eight-ball and we weren't able to get back from that. I have to give East Carolina credit to come in and get a road win but for us this was a game we really wanted. We're in a dog fight in the conference standings and it would have been nice to have the tie-breaker with East Carolina."
Senior Scottie Haralson led the Tulsa attack with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes. The Pirates were led by Maurice Kemp's 23 points, while 6'3" guard Paris Kemp had a team-best nine rebounds and 6'1" guard Miguel Paul had a game-high 10 assists.
Tulsa came out of halftime and scored the first four points and tied the score at 38-38 with just 2:03 gone in the second half. Tulsa took its first lead since early in the game at the 13:23 mark as Pat Swilling's three-pointer put the Hurricane ahead 43-42. After exchanging the lead four times, Shaquille Harrison's layup with 10:35 remaining put Tulsa ahead 49-46, equaling Tulsa's biggest lead since a 3-0 start. Swilling's fast-break layup made the score 51-46 with 10:04 on the game clock.
Tulsa made it 56-51 at the 6:41 mark on a Haralson jumper, but then the Pirates scored the next 10 points on a free throw and three treys to take a five-point lead at 61-56 with 3:48 remaining in the contest. The Hurricane scored just seven points over the final 6.5 minutes, while converting just two of nine free throws during that stretch, including missing seven straight from the line.
East Carolina made 7-of-7 free throws over the final 1:50 to hold off the Hurricane and capture its' first win in the series since January 2006.
Tulsa's Haralson began the game with a three-pointer and was up one-point at 5-4 before East Carolina took an 8-5 advantage at the 16:59 mark and didn't relinquish the lead the remainder of the first half.
The Pirates took its first double digit lead, 28-17, at the 4:38 mark and had its biggest lead of 14 points at the 4:15 mark and again with 3:05 remaining on the game clock.
Tulsa closed the half with a 9-0 run to cut the East Carolina lead to just five points at halftime, 34-29.
Trailing 34-20, Tulsa's nine straight points to close out the half began with a free throw by Brandon Swannegan at the 2:55 mark. Haralson added a layup, followed by a Harrison free throw, then a three-pointer by Haralson at the one minute mark and D'Andre Wright's dunk with 0:19 left on the first-half clock closed out the scoring streak for the Hurricane.
Haralson closed the first 20 minutes with 10 points and five rebounds to lead the Hurricane, while Kemp had 13 first-half points for East Carolina.
The injury bug hit the Hurricane again as 5'11" guard Rashad Ray, who had averaged 13.3 points in the previous four games, missed the contest.