|Updated: 3/06 10:38 pm
||Published: 3/06 10:36 pm
Tulsa, Okla. – Nick Russell scored 19 points to lead the SMU Mustangs to a 71-65 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Senior Night in front of 4,710 fans at Donald W. Reynolds Center Wednesday.
Tulsa fell to 15-14 overall and 7-8 in Conference USA standings, while SMU improved to 15-15 and 5-10 in the league. The victory avenged a 48-47 last second Tulsa victory in Dallas two months ago.
Russell’s 19 points led four Mustangs in double digits, while Tulsa freshman James Woodard and senior Scottie Haralson scored 17 and 13 points, respectively. Cannen Cunningham had 17, Shawn Williams 13 and Ryan Manuel added 11 points for the Mustangs.
SMU’s dominated in the paint as a 40-to-18 point advantage was the key to the victory for the Mustangs. Tulsa connected on 9-of-26 three-pointers, while SMU was 0-of-2 from behind the arc. For the game, SMU shot 51.8 percent from the field to Tulsa’s 37.9 percent.
SMU took the lead at the 10:37 mark of the first half and never relinquished it the remainder of the game. Woodard’s three-pointer at the 18:29 mark of the second half cut SMU’s lead to one point, 42-41, but the visitors went on a 7-1 run to take a 49-42 lead with 14:47 left on the clock.
The Mustangs had its biggest lead of 11 points twice in the second half including 55-44 at the 12:29 mark and 57-46 with 9:55 left on the game clock.
Tulsa kept battling and cut the Mustangs lead to 64-63 on a Shaquille Harrison layup with 1:18 left in the game. A questionable foul call on Harrison put SMU’s Russell on the line for two shots and made the score 66-63 at the 0:52 mark.
The Hurricane had two chances to tie the score but missed on consecutive three-point attempts. The Mustangs made 5-of-6 free throws in the final 0:36 to lock up its third straight win in Tulsa over the Hurricane.
In the first half, Tulsa held a lead for most of the first 10 minutes of the contest with its biggest lead of seven points coming at the 14:54 mark at 15-8 when Pat Swilling knocked down a three-pointer.
Tulsa held that lead until SMU made it 22-21 on a Nick Russell jumper at the 10:37 mark and held the lead the remainder of the first half. The Mustangs had its biggest lead at 31-22 when Ryan Manuel scored a layup at the 7:24 mark. Trailing by nine points, the Hurricane got it to one point three times the rest of the half, including the first time on a three-pointer by Rashad Ray, layup by Kauri Black and another three-pointer by Swilling to make it 31-30 with 5:13 remaining in the first 20 minutes.
The teams exchanged baskets and again it was a one-point game at 36-35 at the 2:28 mark. SMU scored the final six points for a 42-35 halftime lead.
SMU’s Cannen Cunningham had a first-half high of 13 points, while Swilling led the Hurricane with nine first-half points.
Tulsa closes out the regular season this Saturday night, March 9th in Houston, Texas against the Rice Owls. Game time is 7:00 pm. The Conference USA Basketball Championships takes place next week, March 13-16, at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa.