TULSA, Okla. — Corey Henderson Jr. scored a game-high 21 points and Tulsa opened the game on a 24-0 run to race past Temple, 76-58, on Senior Day at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
The Golden Hurricane (19-11, 12-6), who has won eight of its last nine games, will enter next week’s American Athletic Conference Championship in Orlando, Fla., as the No. 4-seed and will face either fifth-seeded Memphis or No.12-seed USF at 1 p.m. (CT) on Friday, March 9.
Henderson Jr. went 6-of-13 from the field and 5-of-8 from behind the arc to lead Tulsa, while Martins Igbanu finished with 16 points and Curran Scott came off the bench to produce 14 points and a career-high seven rebounds. Tulsa scored 19 points off 13 turnovers and outrebounded the Owls (16-14, 8-10), 40-29.
“Just a really great performance out of our guys,” head coach Frank Haith said. “They competed and jumped early into a big lead. Temple is such a good team that they are going to come back in the game. I am proud of how we responded. I thought our defense was terrific to start the ballgame. They missed some shots, but I thought for the most part, we were contesting shots and rebounding the ball well.”
Meanwhile, Quinton Rose paced Temple, which shot just 34.4-percent, with 17 points.
Tulsa started the game on fire, hitting eight of its first 10 shots to race out to a 24-0 lead on the Owls. Igbanu got things rolling with the game’s first four points before a tip-in from Jaleel Wheeler. Henderson Jr. then scored the next 11 points for the Hurricane with three 3-pointers and a 17-foot jumper for a 17-0 advantage.
Geno Artison and Sterling Taplin each scored inside, and the run was capped with free throws from Elijah Joiner and Wheeler. During the stretch, Temple went 0-of-12 from the floor and turned the ball over five times.
The Owls did not get on the board until a Rose jumper with 9:56 left in the half.
Tulsa led 31-11 with 3:44 to play, but the Owls cut into the deficit with a 7-0 run. Taplin then hit two free throws in the final seconds of the period for a 33-18 advantage at halftime. The Hurricane held Temple to just 21.4-percent shooting in the half and the Owls’ 18 points were a season low for the first half.
The Owls opened the second half on a 9-1 run to cut the deficit to seven at 34-27 with 16:41 to play. Igbanu stopped the drought with a layup before Scott and DaQuan Jeffries hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to double-digits.
Temple again whittled the Tulsa lead to seven, 51-44, with 8:04 on the clock, but Henderson Jr. hit his fifth triple of the game to spark the Hurricane, which outscored the Owls 21-9 over the next five minutes to put the game away.
With just 1:40 left on the clock, Henderson Jr. hit two free throws that made it 76-55 and one-by-one, seniors Wheeler, Henderson Jr. and Junior Etou exited to a standing ovation from the home crowd.
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