By ADAM WHITTEN
There should have been a hurricane warning Saturday night at the Marriott Center. And not because the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa were taking on BYU.
Tulsa defeated the BYU men’s basketball team 65-59 in front of a crowd of 6,236. It was a game in which both team’s shooting rivaled that of a natural disaster.
Tulsa shot 38.2 percent from the field, 25 percent from behind the three-point line and 66.7 percent from the free throw line. And Tulsa still won the game.
The Cougars again shot 30 percent from the field, and their 15.4 percent shooting from three-point range was their second worst performance of the season. Proving the irons were unkind in all phases of the game, BYU shot 63.6 percent from the foul line.
“BYU is an improved team,” Tulsa head coach Bill Self said. “I’m glad they’re off our schedule. They give us problems.”
BYU dropped to 6-17 overall. Tulsa (14-9) evened the season series between the two teams with the win. The game was a crossover game for both schools and did not effect their WAC standings.
“We had good chances to win the game,” BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. “We had good shots … but not everything dropped for us. And at this level, in Division I basketball, you have to make those shots.”
Cleveland was referring to six second-half possessions, where the Cougars had a shot to either tie of take the lead, when Tulsa clung to a 51-49 lead. BYU would never draw closer in the game from that moment on.
Jared Peterson, Danny Bower and Brian Dignan each missed three-pointers during a four-minute span in the second half.
Ron Selleaze led the Cougars with 21 points. Bower, Justin Weidauer and Mekeli Wesley hurt the Cougars’ chances by making only six of 31 shots from the field. Weidauer did pull down 12 rebounds to lead the team.
Rod Thompson led Tulsa in scoring with 16 points, but connected on only four of 16 from the field. Michael Ruffin dominated inside with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
“I’m tired of losing,” Weidauer said. “If we continue to play like we did in the second half, we’ll win some games.”
On a positive note, Selleaze broke out of his shooting slump by making eight of 15 field goals. Selleaze struggled from the free-throw line, however, making only five of 11.
“Penetration was open,” said Selleaze, who was hampered by a toe sprain in the second half. “If I could get in the seams, I could get my teammates involved.”
BYU trailed 34-26 at halftime, after tying the game at 20 with 6:03 left in the half. The Cougars used a 12-2 run to draw even, capped off by Bower’s only three-point field goal of the game.
The Cougars were sparked at halftime by Weidauer, the team’s only senior. Wesley said Weidauer got in the face of his teammates and challenged them step forward.
“I basically told them it’s their team,” Cleveland said. “There’s only so much you can do as a coach, and at some point they have to motivate themselves.
“If they stay positive, they will find a way to win another game,” he said.
BYU’s next opportunity comes Thursday night when the Cougars travel to Fort Collins to take on Colorado State.