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TU gets by Middle Tennessee

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A 3-point basket by James Woodard with four seconds left, along with a few extra free throws, gave Tulsa a 58-53 win against Middle Tennessee Thursday night at the Reynolds Center.

After Woodard’s 3, he was fouled by the Blue Raiders’ Hunter Nieko with one second left and allowed to the free throw line, where he hit both shots.

Before Woodard’s trey, Tweety Knight hooked a layup at the glass to tie the game for Middle Tennessee.
Woodard finished night leading TU (9-10 overall, 4-1 in Conference USA) with 16 points and Lew Evans posted 12 and 11 rebounds for a double-double.

"Tonight was a very exciting game to say the least. James (Woodard) came out and played exceptionally hard. We had some guys who had some good individual performances," Tulsa coach Danny Manning said. "We were just fortunate enough to make a couple of shots, make a couple of plays on our home court, with our energy, feeding off the fans and the crowd to get the win. That's a really tough team to beat and we are really fortunate."

Shawn Jones led the Blue Raiders (12-7, 2-2) with 22 points and Knight scored 11.

Tulsa pushed out to a 10-point lead in the first half, but found itself down by a deuce often in the second half.

A basket by Evans increased Tulsa’s lead to 21-14 with 8:14 left in the first half.

Middle Tennessee went on a 10-3 run to tie the score.

TU led by as much 10 points and owned a 34-26 halftime advantage. But a 15-5 run by Middle Tennessee put the Blue Raiders up 41-39 with 8:55 to go.

Pat Swilling Jr. hit a trey to give the lead back to Tulsa. TU would then go on to find itself down from one to three points or in ties the following seven minutes before a layup from Evans put it up 53-51 with a minute and a half left

The Golden Hurricane shot 40 percent (18-of-45), 28 percent (5-of-18) from the 3-point arc and 68 percent (17-of-25) from the free throw line.

Middle Tennessee was 39 percent (20-of-51), limited to 17 percent (2-of-12) in 3s and connected 58 percent (11-of-19) from the foul line.

Tulsa will remain at home where it will take on UAB at 3:05 p.m. at the Reynolds Center.

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