Tulsa rally comes up short at UConn, 75-73

Posted at 5:14 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 18:14:40-05

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn struggled to hold a big lead for the second straight game, but didn't let this one get away.

Five Huskies scored in double figures and Connecticut held off Tulsa 75-73 on Saturday after leading by 20 points in the second half.

Omar Calhoun and Sterling Gibbs each scored 14 points to lead the Huskies to the win, which came less than 48 hours after UConn blew a late 12-point lead in a five-point loss at Temple.


Daniel Hamilton had 12 points and 10 rebounds to record his seventh double-double of the season. Rodney Purvis finished with 11 points and Shonn Miller added 10.

Connecticut (18-7, 8-4 American) led 34-21 at the half and quickly extended that to 46-26 on the strength of two 3-point shots by Calhoun, who made his first four from behind the arc.

Tulsa outscored the Huskies 47-29 the rest of the way, but could not get closer than three points before Rashad Ray's meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"When we've got our foot on somebody's neck, we've got to continue to keep punishing them," said Hamilton. "I think we let the foot off the gas today."

Pat Birt had 24 points to lead Tulsa (16-9, 8-5). He hit six 3-pointers, including all five of his attempts in the second half. Marquel Curtis added 14 points and Shaquille Harrison had 12 for the Golden Hurricane.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Birt keyed a 12-2 Tulsa run that cut UConn's lead to 56-49, before a 3-pointer from the left wing by Rodney Purvis ended the run.

Birt's sixth 3-pointer cut the lead to 65-60. Shaquille Harrison's reverse layup made it 67-64.

But Jalen Adams grabbed a huge offensive rebound on a Purvis miss, before Purvis hit a runner with 42 seconds left.

"Yeah, they came back in the second half, but the guys stayed together," said UConn coach Kevin Ollie. "They could have easily folded, but they stayed together. That's what I love about them."

Tulsa shot 60 percent from the field in the second half after UConn held the Golden Hurricane to just 32 percent before intermission. Hurricane players hit just one of their final 11 shots in the first half.

Purvis scored his 1,000th career point on his first basket and the Huskies jumped out to an early 8-3 lead.

Tulsa had won three of its last four and eight of its last 10 games, including an 82-77 win Wednesday at No. 16 SMU in which the Golden Hurricane overcame an eight-point deficit.

"We're in a good place," said coach Frank Haith. "I think we're playing our best basketball."

UConn had won three in a row before Thursday's loss at Temple, perhaps the worst of the season for the Huskies. UConn led by 12 with under 6 minutes to play before being outscored 21-4 down the stretch.

UConn also blew an 11-point lead in its 60-51 loss at Tulsa on Jan. 14.

The Huskies are now 3-5 in games decided by five points or fewer.



Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane came in holding opponents to an average of 41 percent shooting from the floor and had held 19 of its previous 24 opponents under 50 percent. UConn shot 52.9 percent.

UConn: The Huskies honored former star Caron Butler at halftime, putting his name on their wall of honor inside Gampel Pavilion. Butler played two seasons at UConn, earning Big East player of the year honors and leading UConn to an NCAA regional final in 2002. The 35-year-old is currently in his 14th season in the NBA, playing for the Sacramento Kings. He becomes the 24th player inducted into the Huskies of Honor.


Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane return home to face Cincinnati.

UConn: The Huskies host SMU on Thursday night.