TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa guard Justin Hurtt's deep 3-pointer at the top of the key with nine seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime, and the Golden Hurricane carried that momentum into the extra period to take a 76-71 win against the University of Houston men's basketball team on Saturday afternoon inside the Reynolds Center.
The Cougars battled double-digit deficits throughout much of the game and trailed 43-31 with 16:27 remaining in regulation. However, Houston battled back and used a 21-8 run during the next eight minutes to take a 52-51 lead on a Zamal Nixon free throw.
The two teams battled back and forth before the Cougars held a 64-60 lead on a Nixon field goal with 2:09 left in regulation. After a Scottie Haralson jumper and Steven Idlet pulled Tulsa to within 64-63, Nixon was fouled and drained both attempts to give Houston a 66-63 lead with only 26 seconds left.
After a Tulsa timeout, Hurtt dribbled around the perimeter and hit his third and final 3-pointer of the night to knot the game at 66-66 with 8.6 seconds left.
Following a Cougar timeout, Nixon quickly brought the ball up the court but was whistled for an offensive foul with three seconds left. A last-second shot by Tulsa at the buzzer was off the mark, sending the Cougars into a school single-season record fifth overtime contest in 2010-11.
The Cougars played the extra period short-handed in the frontcourt after forwards Maurice McNeil and Kirk Van Slyke fouled out late in regulation. Freshman forward Mikhail McLean gave the Cougars a 68-66 lead in overtime, but Haralson's sixth 3-pointer of the night gave Tulsa the lead for good.
Freshman forward Alandise Harris hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1:47 remaining in overtime to move the Cougars to within 71-69, but back-to-back baskets from Hurtt and Idlet gave Tulsa a commanding lead.
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 11-11 overall, 3-6 in C-USA games. The Cougars dropped their fifth straight game but have had chances, holding second-half leads in each of those contests. Houston has lost those five games by a combined 23 points (4.6 ppg)
Tulsa improved to 13-10 overall and 6-3 in league games.
Before fouling out, McNeil led the Cougars with 21 points and added three rebounds with a pair of blocks. Junior guard Darian Thibodeaux added 15 points, three rebounds and a team-high four assists, while Nixon came off the bench to score 12 points with six rebounds and four assists. Harris added a team-high 10 rebounds with eight points in the loss.
Hurtt and Haralson each posted a game-high 22 points with Haralson's six 3-pointers leading all players. Idlet finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cougars take a week off before returning to Hofheinz Pavilion for a brief, two-game homestand. The home swing begins at 4 p.m., Saturday, when the Cougars meet Tulane and continues at 7 p.m., Feb. 16 when the team squares off against SMU.
Fans can hear all Cougar men's basketball games live on SportsTalk 790 AM KBME with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Cougar legend Elvin Hayes serving as analyst.
Four regular-season home games remain on the schedule, and Cougar men's basketball tickets are available now. Fans can choose from a variety of different ticket packages that best suit their needs, including the Pick 4 Pack (remaining home games).
Fans can join the "H" Association barbecue on Feb. 12 and receive one reserved seat ticket to the Cougars' C-USA showdown against Tulane for only $20.
Fans also can purchase the Houston Hoops 4-Pack for the UAB (Feb. 26) game at Hofheinz Pavilion. For only $48, fans can receive 4 general admission tickets, 4 small drinks, 4 hot dogs and 4 hats (selected styles) from the UH Fan Shop.
If more than four tickets are needed, each additional ticket purchased will cost only $12 each and will receive the extra items.
The Houston Hoops 4-Pack will not be available on game days at the Hofheinz Pavilion ticket windows.
Fans have several options when ordering their men's basketball tickets. They can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center by the UH Fan Shop, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or click the Tickets tab at UHCougars.com to buy tickets today.
* The Cougars did not hit their first 3-pointer in the game until Thibodeaux connected with 10:13 remaining in regulation.
* McNeil recorded his third 20-point game of the 2010-11 season and the fourth of his career.
* Thibodeaux is the only Cougar who has started all 22 games to date... Nixon came off the bench against Tulsa for the first time this season.