Tulsa holds on to beat Memphis 68-65
The win broke a 12-game losing streak for Tulsa in the series, and marked the first win for the Golden Hurricane (12-10, 5-3 Conference USA) on the road against Memphis since 1971.
Scottie Haralson finished with 13 and Justin Hurtt, the conference’s leading scorer with a 20.5-point average, managed 11 points, all in the second half, on 4-of-18 shooting.
Joe Jackson led Memphis (16-6, 5-3) with 16, while Tarik Black added 13. Will Coleman and Will Barton had 11 points apiece, Coleman grabbing 10 rebounds.
Memphis thought it had a steal with 8 seconds left and a chance to tie. But the officials could not see the play, called a jump ball and the possession arrow was in favor of the Golden Hurricane.
Memphis stole the ensuing inbounds pass, but missed a pair of 3-point attempts in the closing seconds, and Tulsa had its second straight win and third in the last four.
The game was close once Tulsa erased a 10-point deficit from the early stages of the second half. The Golden Hurricane took the lead at 51-49 with 7:36 left. From there, neither team could build a comfortable lead in a game that had 10 ties and nine lead changes.
Memphis struggled with its ballhandling and shooting in the first half against the Tulsa defense, committing nine turnovers and making 40 percent of its field-goal attempts (12 of 30).
But Memphis defenders also did their job, holding the Golden Hurricane to 28 percent (10 of 36), including Hurtt, the conference’s leading scorer at 20.5, missing all nine of his shots in the half. Tulsa finished the game shooting 34 percent (21 of 62).
The first-half shooting allowed the Tigers to carry a 30-27 lead at halftime as Jackson had nine points, while Coleman had nine rebounds.
Idlet had 10 first-half points for Tulsa.
Memphis was working inside from the start as 22 of its 30 first-half points came in the paint.
The game was close throughout the half with neither team leading by more than five points.
Memphis gained its first double-digit lead by scoring the first seven points of the second half, making it 37-27 on two free throws by Coleman.
But Tulsa kept chipping away, and Idlet’s 3-point play had the Golden Hurricane within 41-38 with 12:41 left. Then Tulsa cut the lead to 47-46 on Clarkson’s 3-pointer with just over 9 minutes left.
The lead was erased less than 2 minutes later when Haralson was fouled outside the arc and hit all three free throws for a 51-49 Tulsa lead.