TULSA, Okla. – Redshirt freshman forward Kodi Maduka had his strongest game in a blue and gold uniform as his efforts helped The University of Tulsa men’s basketball team record a huge 78-62 Conference victory over the University of Alabama-Birmingham Saturday night in front of 5,449 fans at Donald W. Reynolds Center.
Maduka recorded career highs with nine points and seven rebounds in only 15 minutes of action, and he finished the game 4-for-6 from the field.
Tulsa (9-8, 2-1 C-) shot a season-high 53.8 percent from the field to just 45 percent from , and the Golden Hurricane outrebounded the Blazers 37-23. The field-goal percentage for TU was also a season-high allowed by the usually stingy defense.
TU was led in scoring by senior guard Justin Hurtt and his 17-point effort. He also led the team with five assists and was 6-for-8 from the free-throw line. Junior forward Steven Idlet was 6 of 8 from the field and added 16 points and three steals for the Golden Hurricane, and sophomore guard Scottie Haralson nailed three trey’s to contribute 14 points.
Junior forward Joe Richard was solid with eight points and seven rebounds.
Jamarr Sanders led all scorers with 22 points for (11-4, 1-1 C-) despite a 2-for-11 evening from behind the three-point line. Preston Purifoy added 13 points, and Aaron Johnson, who came into the game averaging 11 points, scored just five points and dished out eight assists.
Cameron Moore entered the game averaging 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds, but he was held to just 11 points and one rebound in a foul-plagued 24 minutes.
Tulsa fell behind 9-5 before the first media timeout, but a layup from Richard sparked a 14-0 run that spanned nearly nine minutes of the opening half. Five different members of the Golden Hurricane contributed in the scoring column during the run.
Moore was able to finally notch a bucket for with a jumper near the free-throw line to halt the cold streak, but Haralson and freshman guard Jordan Clarkson kept the lead in double digits as they combined for the next nine Tulsa points.
TU amped up the defensive intensity and the offense continued to be in sync as the home side pushed its lead out to 33-18 with 3:32 to play in the opening frame.
The Blazers found a little rhythm late in the half as they cut the lead to just 10 with 53 seconds to play. made it a 35-28 halftime score when Quincy Taylor swished a trey in the waning seconds despite Richard getting a hand in his face.
Sanders hit a jumper to open the second half, but Idlet and Maduka combined to score the next six points and give Tulsa a 41-30 advantage with 16:43 to play.
Purifoy and Haralson exchanged three-point baskets, and Purifoy hit a layup to bring the Tulsa lead back into single digits.
fought hard to get back into the game, but the Golden Hurricane kept the road side at an arm’s length and held between an eight- and 12-point lead from the 17:52 mark to the 5:33 mark.
Sanders hit a bucket to cut the deficit to 58-52, and he converted a layup on the next possession to give Tulsa a 60-54 lead.
Idlet, Hurtt and sophomore guard Bryson Pope kept pouring in points despite a better offensive effort down the stretch from , and TU held a 70-58 lead with 1:50 to play.
Sanders nailed a three to cut the lead to 70-62, but time would run out on the comeback attempt as Tulsa stayed strong and took the 78-62 victory over the Blazers.
The win gave Tulsa its fourth triumph in the last five meetings with the Blazers, and TU is now 7-6 all-time against .