Tulsa to host NSU in exhibition

TULSA–The University of Tulsa men’s basketball team will host Northeastern State at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 in the team’s only exhibition contest prior to the start of the 2018-19 season. Admission to the game is free.

Tulsa will play just one exhibition game this season as it participated in a closed scrimmage with another Division I program last weekend.

The Golden Hurricane will return to the Donald W. Reynolds Center floor for its first action since defeating Temple, 76-58, in the regular-season finale last year. That victory capped a regular-season that saw the Hurricane record 19 wins, including 13 at home, and the squad finished fourth in the American Athletic Conference with 12 league victories.

TU returns three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s team, led by preseason second-team all-conference point guard Sterling Taplin. The senior set career highs with 11.8 points, 4.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in 2017-18.

Fans can listen to all the action from Friday’s exhibition on Big Country 99.5 FM, online at TulsaHurricane.com or by using the TuneIn app with Bruce Howard and JR Rollo calling the action.

Complete game notes attached.

Fast Break Points

  • Tulsa is in its 108th season of basketball and fifth season in the American Athletic Conference.
  • Friday’s game will serve as the only exhibition contest for the Golden Hurricane prior to the start of the 2018-19 regular-season. TU opens the campaign at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6 against Alcorn State.
  • Tulsa has played 68 exhibition games since the 1969-70 season and it owns a 66-2 record in those games. TU has won 37 consecutive exhibitions, including all seven under fifth-year head coach Frank Haith.
  • Tulsa also faced the RiverHawks in an exhibition prior to the 2016-17 season, which the Golden Hurricane won, 84-52, behind 13 points in 12 minutes off the bench from then-freshman Martins Igbanu.
  • The Hurricane return three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s team, which went 19-12 overall and 12-6 to finish fourth in The American.
  • Senior point guard Sterling Taplin is the team’s top returning scorer. The East Amherst, N.Y., native averaged 11.8 points, 4.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game (all career highs) last season. Taplin also logged career bests with a .462 shooting percentage and 38 3-pointers made.
  • TU has five scholarship newcomers eligible to make their debut this season. Of those five, three players have previous Division I experience, while one other redshirted at a DI school prior to arriving in Tulsa.
  • Tulsa will play 13 games in 2018-19 against opponents that participated in the postseason last year. Seven of those matchups will come at home, including back-to-back contests against Oklahoma State (Dec. 5) and K-State (Dec. 8).
  • TU has notched 46 league wins since joining The American, which ranks third behind only Cincinnati (57) and SMU (51) during that span (2014-present).
  • Tulsa was picked to finish ninth in The American Preseason Poll. TU has finished better than its preseason prediction in all four seasons under head coach Frank Haith.

The Game

  • Tulsa will host Northeastern State at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 in the only exhibition game for the Golden Hurricane prior to the start of the 2018-19 regular season.
  • Live stats for Friday’s exhibition game and every home contest during the 2018-19 season can be found online at tulsastats.com.

Exhibition Excellence

  • Tulsa has played 68 exhibition games since its first one prior to the 1969-70 season and it has a 66-2 record in those contests, including wins in its last 37 exhibitions. The Golden Hurricane have won all seven exhibition games under fifth-year head coach Frank Haith.
  • TU defeated Northwestern Oklahoma State (96-65) and Missouri S&T (113-56) in exhibition play last season.
  • The Golden Hurricane also defeated Northeastern State, 84-52, prior to the start of the 2016-17 season.
  • The only two exhibition losses for TU came against Conoco Oil in 1997 and the Italian National Team in 1984.

A Tulsa Win Would …

  • Extend Tulsa’s exhibition winning streak to 38 games and improve its record in exhibitions to 67-2.
  • Give TU its second-ever exhibition victory against Northeastern State.

Scouting the RiverHawks

  • Northeastern State is a Division II program located in Talequah, Okla., and the RiverHawks compete as a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
  • Head coach Mark Downey led the RiverHawks to an 8-20 record and the squad tied for 12th in the conference with a 4-15 mark during his inaugural season with the program last year.
  • Northeastern State was picked to finish 12th in the MIAA preseason coaches’ poll and 14th in the media poll.
  • The RiverHawks roster features four players with Division I experience.
  • Northeastern State will be replacing its top two-scorers from a season ago. Trent Cantrell and Tanner Mouse (8.9 ppg apiece) are the team’s leading returners from the 2017-18 campaign.

Haith Enters Fifth Season at TU

  • Head coach Frank Haith is entering his fifth season at Tulsa, where he has compiled a 77-52 record and led the Golden Hurricane to a pair of postseason appearances during his tenure. Overall, he has an on-court record of 282-181 (.609) in 14 seasons.
  • Haith’s 77 wins on the TU bench rank seventh in program history as he passed former Golden Hurricane coaches Bill Self (74), Tubby Smith (74), Francis Schmidt (73), Chet Benefiel (65) and John Phillips (61) on the charts last season.
  • Haith’s 19.3 wins per season at TU rank fifth among those who coached more than one season for the Hurricane.

Haith in Exclusive Coaching Company

  • Head coach Frank Haith is the one of just two active Division I head coaches to take teams in four of the Power 6 conferences to the NCAA Tournament (Houston’s Kelvin Sampson is the other). Haith guided Tulsa (The American) to the Big Dance in 2015, Missouri (SEC) in 2013, Missouri (Big 12) in 2012 and Miami (ACC) in 2008.
  • In addition, Haith is one of just 24 active coaches that have taken at least three different programs to the NCAA Tournament.
  • Haith and the Hurricane will face two other members of that list this season, when the team faces Bruce Weber and Kansas State (Dec. 8) before two matchups with Sampson and Houston (Jan. 2 and Jan. 27).

The Schedule

  • Following Friday’s exhibition, Tulsa will open the season against Alcorn State on Nov. 6 at the Reynolds Center.
  • Tulsa will play 13 games in 2018-19 against opponents that participated in the postseason last season. Seven of those matchups will come at home, including back-to-back contests against Oklahoma State (Dec. 5) and Kansas State (Dec. 8).
  • TU also will have six games against teams that open the season ranked or receiving votes in the AP Top 25. The first comes against preseason No. 7 Nevada (Nov. 22) on a neutral floor in Las Vegas. The Hurricane will host No. 12 Kansas State, while it will have matchups against UCF (Jan. 19) and Cincinnati (Jan. 10, Jan. 24), who each are receiving votes to start the year.

Taplin Leads the Way

  • Senior point guard Sterling Taplin has developed into one of the top point guards in The American and he was named preseason second-team all-conference in a vote by the league’s head coaches.
  • The East Amherst, N.Y., native is the team’s leading returning scorer after he registered a career-best 11.8 ppg last season. He also set career bests with 3.7 rpg and 4.4 apg, which also ranked fourth in The American.
  • Taplin’s 11.8 ppg last season ranks 11th among returners in The American. In all, he set career highs last season in field goals (127), 3-pointers (38), points (354), rebounds (112) and assists (132).
  • In addition, he has climbed to No. 19 on the program’s career-assists charts with 275.

Tulsa’s Success in The American

  • Since joining the American Athletic Conference prior to the 2014-15 season, the Golden Hurricane has posted 46 league wins, which ranks third in the circuit during that time.
  • Only Cincinnati (57 wins) and SMU (51 wins) have earned more victories than Tulsa’s 46.
  • TU has finished better than its preseason prediction in each of Haith’s four seasons. Tulsa is the first program in The American history to finish better than its preseason prediction in four consecutive seasons. The Golden Hurricane was picked to finish ninth in the conference prior to the 2018-19 season.

Look Who’s Back

  • Tulsa returns eight letterwinners, including three starters, from last year’s team, which went 19-12 and finished fourth in The American with a 12-6 league mark.
  • Returning starters include senior point guard Sterling Taplin (30 starts), junior forward Martins Igbanu (23) and junior guard Lawson Korita (17).
  • Other returners include senior guard/forward DaQuan Jeffries, senior forward Alex Foree, junior guard Curran Scott and sophomore guards Elijah Joiner and Darien Jackson.
  • In all, Tulsa returns 56.3-percent of its scoring, 56.7-percent of its minutes, 48.9-percent of its rebounding, 69.5-percent of its assists and 59.7-percent of its steals.

New Faces

  • Along with the eight returning letterwinners, Tulsa has seven newcomers in addition to Jeriah Horne, who sat out the 2017-18 season after transferring from Nebraska.
  • The newcomers eligible to make their debut for the Hurricane this season are Chris Barnes, Zeke Moore, Peter Hewitt, Jeriah Horne, Simon Falokun and walk-on Lindsay Deline Jr. Reggie Jones will sit out the 2018-19 campaign after transferring from Western Michigan and walk-on George Christopoulos will redshirt, as well.
  • Of the six eligible to make their debut for TU, three student-athletes have Division I experience (Chris Barnes/UTEP, Jeriah Horne/Nebraska, Zeke Moore/Saint Louis), while Peter Hewitt redshirted at UC Davis in 2016-17.

Up Next

  • Tulsa will open its 108th season of play when it hosts Alcorn State at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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