In recent years, we’ve become accustomed to seeing Wichita State pull off upsets and topple elite programs. Well, Tulsa did exactly that Tuesday evening.
Only this time it came at the Shockers’ expense.
Tulsa beat No. 9 Wichita State, 77-67, to record its first victory over a ranked team in 24 tries.
“We just held together as a team,” Tulsa guard James Woodard said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Every play, every dead ball, we huddled up and made sure we knew our assignments. It was all about our defense, but they still made big shots. Ron Baker had a great game. The key for us was the rebounds.”
Baker finished with a game-high 23 points, but Tulsa won the battle of the boards, 38-32, and shot 10-of-22 (45.5 percent) from three-point range. Wichita State shot just 8-of-26 (30.8 percent).
“We knew coming into this game how deadly they are from behind the arc,” Woodard said. “We had tight close-outs. Offensively, we just executed. We were sharing the ball.”
Woodard, who scored 13 points, was one of four Golden Hurricanes to reach double figures. Shaquille Harrison scored a team-high 20 points, while Marquel Curtis and Pat Birt scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, off the bench.
“Pat Birt hit some big shots,” Woodard said. “Rashad Smith, Rashad Ray, Shaquille and Marquel Curtis hit (some) threes. We was just sharing the ball, hitting the open man and knocking down shots. . . . It was an all-around team effort for us.”
Tulsa shot 46 percent from the floor while limiting Wichita State to 36.5 percent. The Golden Hurricanes also had more assists (15-10), more blocks (5-2) and outscored the Shockers 47-36 in the second half.
“We just came in ready to win,” Woodard said. “That as the whole focus – just win the game. Wichita State is a very good team. They played in the NCAA Tournament the past few years and made big runs. They’re a great team. But we just came in focused on us and focused defensively, especially on rebounding. We know that’s the type of team they are – a hard, physical team. But we came in, stayed together and we just executed our plan.”