Tumbling Tulsa seeks turnaround at East Carolina

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Tulsa is ready to start playing like it's December and early January all over again.

The Golden Hurricane (8-6, 5-4 American Athletic Conference) will try to snap out of a recent funk in Saturday's clash with East Carolina (7-5, 1-5) in Greeneville, N.C.

Following a six-game winning streak from Dec. 18 to Jan. 6, Tulsa coach Frank Haith and his squad have dropped three of the last four contests.

The Golden Hurricane lost 76-67 against Temple in Philadelphia on Tuesday despite a career-high 20 points from Rey Idowu.

The first half proved to be Tulsa's downfall as Temple raced to a 44-25 lead at the break.

Even though Idowu sparked a 17-4 run in the second half, the visitors came up short after outscoring the Owls 42-32 in the final 20 minutes.

The output marked the fifth time this season Tulsa has held a double-digit advantage in points in the second half.

"I thought we didn't come out the way you should come out to win on the road," Haith said. "I give our guys credit who didn't quit and fought well in the end."

Elijah Joiner added 15 points and Brandon Rachal scored 12 against Temple.

East Carolina also is trying to reverse its poor results on the court of late.

Including Wednesday's 71-64 loss at UCF, the Pirates have lost four straight and haven't chalked one up in the win column since a 68-58 home victory over Tulane on Dec. 22 -- five weeks ago.

Jayden Gardner produced 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Knights for his sixth double-double this season and third straight. The Wake Forest, N.C., native leads the team in scoring (16.3 points per game) and rebounding (8.1).

Down big early, the Pirates furiously rallied after trailing UCF 42-25 at halftime -- cutting the deficit to 62-59 with less than four minutes to play -- but couldn't complete the comeback.

"Our communication was that if you want to get back in the game, you're going to have to do it on the defensive end," associate head coach Steve Roccaforte said. "I thought our guys were really disciplined in doing that for long stretches in the second half."

--Field Level Media