Tulsa will look to rebound from a loss to Wichita State when it hosts Northwestern State in a nonconference game on Friday.
The Golden Hurricane (1-3) have gotten off to a slow start this season, opening with losses against TCU and South Carolina and before posting a 79-64 win over Texas-Arlington on Dec. 4. The team's next two games -- against Arkansas and Oral Roberts -- were postponed due to COVID-19 issues, giving Tulsa a long break before falling to the Shockers, 69-65, on Tuesday.
"I'm not going to make excuses," coach Frank Haith told the Tulsa World. "I'm not going to let our guys do that. ... This is the environment we have to deal with this year, so we've got to work through it."
The Golden Hurricane's top scorers are Brandon Rachal (17.3 points per game), Elijah Joiner (11.5) and Keyshawn Embery-Simpson (10.3).
Against Wichita State in its American Athletic Conference opener, Tulsa fell behind by as many as 17 points in the first half. Trailing 43-29 at halftime, the Golden Hurricane rallied in the second half by opening with a 16-4 run to pull to within 47-45 on Curtis Haywood's 3-pointer with 14:35 left in the game.
Tulsa stayed close but never grabbed the lead, with Embery-Simpson missing a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds left.
Rachal scored a game-high 17 points, with Joiner and Haywood each adding 11. Tulsa made just 8 of 31 3-point attempts, while Wichita State made 10 of 26 attempts.
Northwestern State (1-5) is coming off its first win of the season, a 77-44 defeat of Champion Christian College on Saturday. The Demons were led by Carvell Teasett and Robert Chougkaz, who came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points and 13 points, respectively, while starter Larry Owens was the only other Demon in double figures, finishing with 12 points.
Trenton Massner averages a team-high 12.8 points per game to go along with 4.8 reboundsfor the Demons, who are a member of the Southland Conference. Jairus Robertson (12.2) and Jamaure Gregg (11.0) also score in double figures, with Kendal Coleman averaging a team-high 8.8 rebounds.
Northwestern State opened the season with losses to Texas Tech, Texas-Arlington, Louisiana Tech, TCU and Louisiana-Monroe.
After facing Tulsa, the Demons travel to Springfield, Mo., to play Missouri State (1-0) the next day.
"If you don't know how to play on back-to-back nights, you won't be prepared for the conference tournament, and you're left wondering whether or not you can string good games together," Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy said. "I thought we handled it extremely well earlier this year when we played (Texas-Arlington) and Louisiana Tech. It's great to see where we are physically."
--Field Level Media