, Muskogee, OK

March 16, 2013

Tulsa men fall in semis, but women don’t

— TULSA — Ensured of finishing his first season as Tulsa coach with a winning record, Danny Manning still wants more. He hopes there’s a chance for more improvement somewhere in college basketball’s postseason.

Manning’s youthful Golden Hurricane stuck with league powerhouse Memphis for one half Friday night, but eventually succumbed to the hot shooting of Chris Crawford as the 20th-ranked Tigers won 86-75 in the Conference USA semifinals.

Crawford scored 30 points and made eight 3-pointers, setting new career highs in both categories for the second straight game.

“We’re not happy. There are no moral victories. We want to win games and we want to compete at the highest level,” Manning said. “That’s our mind set. That’s our mentality. We’ve got to continue to strive and work to get better.”

Crawford had three 3-pointers from the right wing during a 14-4 run that put the top-seeded Tigers (29-4) in control midway through the second half after Tulsa had erased an 11-point deficit to take the lead just after halftime.

Crawford’s third 3 during the stretch made it 61-46 with 9:57 to play, and he hit two more during a 10-0 burst later on that prevented the fifth-seeded Golden Hurricane (17-15) from making another comeback.

“Crawford got free far too many times to be as good a shooter as he is,” Manning said. “We lost him a little bit too much, and he made us pay. He knocked down shots.”

Senior Scottie Haralson led the Golden Hurricane with 25 points and 12 rebounds in what will be his final game unless Tulsa receives an invitation to play in one of college basketball’s minor postseason tournaments.

“You always want to play every game like it’s your last because you never know if it’s your last,” Haralson said. “I just tried to cherish the last moments.”

Tulsa doesn’t have the resume to make it into the NCAA tournament or the NIT, but there are other options. The Golden Hurricane won the College Basketball Invitational in 2008. Any destination would give Manning more time to mold a young squad that features seven freshmen and that had only three holdovers from Doug Wojcik’s tenure.

“Hopefully we’ll get an invitation sometime soon to go somewhere and we’ll definitely go play,” Manning said. “That’s what you want to do. You want to go play. Hopefully we will get that opportunity.


TU 72, E. Carolina 59

Tulsa (16-16) erased an 11-point halftime deficit and advanced into today’s C-USA championship game for the first time since 2006. The Hurricane face No. 8 seed UCF, an 89-77 winner over UTEP.

Tulsa’s first-team All-C-USA honoree Taleya Mayberry led all players with 30 points, and forward Tiffani Couisnard posted a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.  Couisnard also led all players with five blocked shots and three steals. Mayberry, who hit 10-of-15 free throws and canned a pair of 3-pointers along the way, paced the Golden Hurricane with three assists.