Tulsa leads 30-24
If you are a fan of whistles, missed shots and terrible student T shirts, this has been the half for you.
UConn has been called for 13 personal fouls in the first half, many of which were ticky-tack, touch fouls that probably should not have been called. Tulsa, for that matter, was also whistled poorly. I'm one for letting these kids play and do not want the refs deciding the game.
Aside from the crippling foul calls, this half saw UConn dramatically struggle shooting the ball. Take away Amida Brimah's 3-3 start, UConn shot just 6-23 from the field. There were a few bright spots. Daniel Hamilton splashed a three and assisted on an Omar Calhoun three off a drive and kick. It was nice to see him get in on the action after struggling the past few weeks.
Tulsa has gotten strong play James Woodard, who leads all scorers with 11 points. Tulsa was was unable to capitalize off their frequent trips to the foul line, converting just 9 of 18. The Golden Hurricane are in a good position, as they are 9-0 this season when leading after halftime.
UConn finds themselves in a tough situation down at Tulsa. UConn is 0-2 all time against Tulsa, and need a big time push in the final 20 minutes to get their first win.
In their third road game of the season, the Connecticut Huskies (9-5) look to improve to 3-1 in AAC play. In order to do that, they will have to defeat the upstart Tulsa Hurricanes (10-5, 3-0), who are currently first place in the American Athletic Conference.
The Huskies are playing their best basketball of the season entering this evening. Winners of five of their last six games, Kevin Ollie's squad has emerged as one of the premier defensive teams in the country. Over these last six games, UConn has allowed an average of 54.8 points per game, and has not allowed more than 65. The Huskies have gotten strong performances from their two captains, Ryan Boatright and Amida Brimah. Boatright was named to the AAC Honor Roll this week after averaging 14.5 ppg, 5.5 assists per game and 2.5 steals per game over the course of UConn's victories over Cincinnati and South Florida. Brimah, meanwhile, is averaging 2.8 blocks per game, good for 24th in the nation.
This has been a shocking start for the Tulsa Hurricanes. Frank Haith, formerly of Miami and Missouri, is in his first year as head coach. Haith is replacing Danny Manning, who led the program to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2003. The Hurricanes are led by junior guard Shaquille Harrison. Harrison is averaging 15.7 ppg and was named the AAC Player of the Week this past week. The Tulsa has also gotten strong production out of James Woodard, Harrison's backcourt running mate. Woodard is averaging over 14 ppg. These two guards are Tulsa's version of Boatright and Rodney Purvis. Like many teams in the AAC, Tulsa is built through their backcourt and the key to beating them is to slow down this duo.
Playing a true road game for the third time this season, the Huskies are looking to stay perfect. To get that done, the Huskies need Daniel Hamilton to bounce back. Since his late game struggles against Temple, Hamilton has looked unconfident and passive. UConn needs him to get back to the do-everything, fill in the blanks type forward that he showed early in the year.
This is going to be a tough conference game for the Huskies. The AAC has actually been a surprise, producing more competitive teams than what was expected in the preseason. UConn should expect a fight tonight, Tulsa is for real.
You can find this game on the CBS Sports Network. Follow me on Twitter @ElanDeCarlo and check out TheUConnBlog for more coverage.