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Courtesy: Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

Tulsa nips UTSA at overtime buzzer on Sunday, 72-70

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics
Release: 03/02/2014
Courtesy UTSA Athletics
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TULSA, Okla. — UTSA outscored Tulsa 42-30 in the second half to rally and force overtime, where D’Andre Wright’s offensive rebound and putback as time expired lifted the Golden Hurricane to a 72-70 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Reynolds Center.

Devon Agusi led the Roadrunners (8-20, 4-11 C-USA) with 17 points, including 14 after halftime, to go along with five rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals. Keon Lewis joined him in double figures with 13 points, while Phillip Jones tallied seven and tied a season high with 11 boards.

UTSA shot 53 percent in the second half to fuel its rally, but could only connect on one of its seven attempts in overtime. The Birds finished at 43.6 percent for the game and held a 42-35 advantage on the glass.

“That was definitely a tough one to take," UTSA head coach Brooks Thompson said. "The way we came out that first 20 minutes, there was no doubt we were flat. The second 25 minutes, we really played well and executed and played hard on the defensive end. Any time that you can out-rebound a good rebounding Tulsa team, you are doing something right. Our energy was phenomenal, but Tulsa deserved to win that game. There is no doubt about that, but it is disappointing to leave here with a loss."

Meanwhile, James Woodard scored a game-high 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting for the Golden Hurricane (17-12, 12-3 C-USA), who scored 33 points off 21 UTSA turnovers and won their seventh straight. Stevie Repichowski hit three 3-pointers en route to 13 points off the bench and Wright chipped in with a dozen.

Edrico McGregor scored the first six points of the second half for the Roadrunners, who began to chip away at Tulsa’s 34-22 halftime lead and locked down the Golden Hurricane with an effective zone defense.

The Golden Hurricane maintained the advantage until UTSA rattled off a 15-6 run that gave the Birds a 60-59 lead with 3:28 in regulation.

Jones started the spurt with a layup and UTSA got 3-pointers from Lewis, Jordan Sims and George Matthews that were mixed in with a total of four freebies by Agusi.

Tulsa scored the next five points and led 64-60 with just 2:43 to play, but UTSA would not allow another point in regulation. Sims drew the Birds closer with a trey and Kaj-Björn Sherman’s free throw with 30 ticks left knotted the score at 64.

Woodard attempted to win it in regulation, but his jumper was off the mark and the Roadrunners found themselves in their first overtime game of the season.

The Golden Hurricane opened the final five minutes with five straight points before facing another charge by the Roadrunners.

Sherman gave UTSA its first points in overtime with two free throws before Agusi drove to the basket for a layup that made it 69-68 with 1:48 remaining.

Lewis hit two more at the charity stripe with 33 ticks left to tie the score for the fourth and final time, 70-all.

With McGregor and Sherman having fouled out, Tulsa was able to grab a pair of offensive rebounds and got three shots on the final possession. Wright caught Brandon Swannegan’s miss and was able to put the ball through the net as time expired for the 72-70 win.

In the first half, the Golden Hurricane wasted little time in jumping out to an 18-2 lead over the game’s first six minutes. In the stretch, Tulsa connected on seven of its 10 shots, including four 3-pointers, while forcing five UTSA turnovers.

The only Roadrunners basket during the spurt was an offensive rebound and dunk by Jones that trimmed the deficit to 5-2. Tulsa would score the next 13 points, capped by Repichowski’s triple, for the 16-point advantage.

UTSA slowed the Golden Hurricane momentum by switching to a zone defense and it would outscore the home squad 20-16 over the final 14 minutes of the period to trail 34-22 at halftime.

The visitors pulled to within 11 following Devon Agusi’s three-point play that made the score 18-7, but Tulsa answered back with five consecutive points. UTSA cut the deficit to 12 points on five occasions, including on Keon Lewis’ 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go in the frame.

The Roadrunners will close the regular season with a 7 p.m. contest on Thursday, March 6, against UTEP (21-9, 11-4 C-USA) at the Convocation Center.

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