Freshman James Woodard had another fine performance leading the team with 22 points, with seven of those coming in the final minutes.
Pat Swilling Jr. and Scottie Haralson were also forces with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Tulsa finished the game shooting 39 percent (22-of-56) from the floor, 22 percent (4-of-18) in 3-point range and was 54 percent (15-of-28) from the free throw line. Buffalo was 32 percent (19-of-59) in 3s, 18 percent (4-of-18) from the foul stripe.
"Today was a game of offensive struggle from both teams in terms of shooting the basketball,” Tulsa coach Danny Manning said. “I think you can give both teams a little credit defensively, but on both sides of the court players missed shots they would normally make, or should have made, or shot a lower percentage then normal.”
Tulsa was up 9-0 within five minutes into the game. But it found itself leading just 26-24 at halftime and then spent most of the second half down by a few points.
Swilling drilled a 3 to knot the game at 43-43 with 10:50 left in the game.
Another 3-point dish from Swilling put TU up 46-43 with 8:55 to go, its first lead since early in the second half. Kauri Black would put TU up 49-43 with a dunk.
But the pesky Bulls would not go away. They would come back and tie it again at 51-51.
But Woodard jettisoned the Hurricane with tie-breaking lay-up with 3:03 left in the game. That started a 9-0 run for TU. Woodard also got a trey and another lay-up,
TU goes to SMU Sunday, where Manning will go up against his former coach from his playing days at Kansas, Larry Brown. That game starts at 7 p.m. and will be telecasted by FOX Sports Oklahoma.