Tulsa outlasts Middle Tennessee to earn place in C-USA final

Javier Cortez, Staff Reporter

Tulsa booked the first spot in the 2014 Conference USA men’s basketball championship by beating the No.2 seed Middle Tennessee 76-69.

Tulsa found themselves trailing by a few points for most of the first half, but closed out the half with a 14-3 run to take a six point lead. Once Tulsa gained the lead they never looked back and with four minutes left in the second half they took a commanding eight point lead.

Middle Tennessee were led by senior forward Neiko Hunter with 19 points and sophomore guard Jaqawn Raymond with 18 points and five three-point makes. As a team Middle Tennessee was very efficient from behind the arc connecting on 40 percent of their attempted threes. The Blue Raiders end their NCAA tournament chances with a 24-9 record, but still have a chance at a NIT bid.

For the Golden Hurricane sophomore guard James Woodard scored a team high 19 points and three steals. Despite being outrebounded 39-29 the Golden Hurricane made Middle Tennessee pay forcing 21 turnovers to eight assists.

Tulsa now moves to 20-12 by winning their 10th straight game. Tulsa will play the winner of the Louisiana Tech vs. Southern Miss game in the Championship game Saturday morning at the Don Haskins Center.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]