Basketball Drops 48-44 Decision to Illinois in South Padre Invitational Championship
Nov. 29, 2008
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas - Juniors Ben Uzoh and Jerome Jordan each scored 11 points and Jordan grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, but The University of Tulsa basketball team fell 48-44 to Illinois Saturday evening in the championship game of the South Padre Island Invitational at the SPI Convention Center.
Uzoh and Jordan were both named to the all-tournament team for their efforts over the weekend. The Golden Hurricane moves to 4-2 on the season, while Illinois advances to 6-0 on the season.
The game was another defensive struggle for the Hurricane, as it shot 37 percent (19-of-51) from the field and held Illinois to just 41 percent field goal shooting (23-of-56). Tulsa out-rebounded the Illini 38 to 33 in the contest, and took care of the ball down the stretch, as TU committed only 13 turnovers, eight of which came in the first half. Tulsa also hit on only 2-of-18 shots from three-point range in the game.
"It was just frustrating because we were down and we didn't start the second half really well," Tulsa head coach Doug Wojcik said. "We go down seven in the first half, fight our way back and were down one point at half. Then we got down to start the second half, fight our way back again, take the lead, and had a chance to win the game. The bottom line was neither team shot many free throws, but we had a two-point lead and missed a one-and-one. You hate to say one play or two plays, but if you make those two, you're up four with about a minute-forty, and who knows what happens. We did a better job tonight of taking care of the ball, and we outrebounded them. It was tough."
Down 24-17 in the first half, Tulsa closed the half on an 8-2 run, as sophomore forward Steven Idlet scored six straight points for TU, and the Hurricane went into halftime trailing 26-25.
The Golden Hurricane had the same problems it inflicted on Texas A&M on Friday, as it began the second half with a five-minute scoring drought. Jordan's dunk with 14:41 remaining in the game was TU's first points of the period, after Illinois opened the half on a 6-0 run. With the score 32-27 in favor of the Illini, Tulsa made short run and pulled to within one point at 34-33 on a pair of free throws by Uzoh with 12:34 remaining in the game.
For the next six minutes, the Hurricane played close to Illinois, but every time TU had a chance to take the lead, the Illini came up with a big play and a jump shot to stay ahead. With the score 40-37 Illinois, senior guard Ray Reese made a jump shot and Uzoh hit a 19-foot jumper to finally give Tulsa the lead at 41-40 with 6:30 left in the game.
However, the Golden Hurricane could not hold on to the lead for long. TU was ahead 43-42 on a layup by Uzoh, and then 30 seconds later, Uzoh hit one of two free throws to give Tulsa a 44-42 lead. Tulsa missed the front end of a one-and-one with 3:26 remaining, and Illinois closed the game from that point on a 6-0 run to win 48-44.
The Golden Hurricane returns to the court Dec. 3 when it travels to Athens, Ohio to take on the Ohio Bobcats. For all TU basketball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com.
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