Tulsa has lifted some monkeys off its back in the past two weeks.
It snapped a two-game skid when it beat Tulane on Jan. 6 and it captured its first road win of the season when it won at Houston three nights later.
Now there is another against Oral Roberts, where the Golden Hurricane (14-3) will travel across to town to meet the Golden Eagles at the ORU Mabee Center. The game known as the Mayor’s Cup Battle, tips off at 7 p.m.
“It’s a big week,” Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said. “Oral Roberts’ game is a big game. They’re a very good home team, they play with great emotion.
“It’s a very difficult game for us, but a good game,” Wojcik said. “It’s a good game for the City of Tulsa and hopefully, a sellout crowd. That’s why we play these games.”
TU is 2-2 under Wojcik, including at 50-43 win in last year’s season opener, but that game was a t the Reynolds Center. It has not won inside ORU’s building under his tutelage.
Tulsa finished on the receiving end of an 84-70 decision at the Mabee Center two seasons ago and suffered 68-52 loss in the Wojciks’s first year. The last time the Hurricane won at ORU was in Dec. 2001.
They hope to change that, but it won’t be easy. The Golden Eagles are 10-9 but own some big wins against the likes of Big 12 power Missouri, along with New Mexico, whom it administered its first defeat of the season. ORU also won a road game at Stanford early in the season.
The game is full of attractable matchups.
In coaching, you have Wojcik and ORU’s Scott Sutton, son of former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton.
Among the players, Tulsa has the likes of Jerome Jordan (7-0, center), Ben Uzoh (6-4, guard), Justin Hurtt (6-4, guard), Joe Richard (6-7, forward) and Bishop Wheatley (6-6, forward) in its starting lineup. Oral Roberts has Dominique Morrison (6-6. forward), Michael Craion (6-5, junior), Kevin Ford (6-9, center), Ken Holdman (6-1, guard) and Warren Niles (6-4, guard)
Morrison leads the Golden Eagles averaging 15.5 points per game, while Uzoh leads TU, averaging 16.8.
“Dominique Morrison is a very good player,” Wojcik said. “He is a match-up problem for everybody. He is a forward that is a big strong kid inside. He poses problems for us.”
All make for an exciting matchup. The only question is who’ll come out on top.
TU Quick Hit
* There was some suggestion at a press conference Monday for the cross-town rivalry returning to having a two-game series annually, but Wojcik shunned the idea.
“Thanks to Sixthirtyone for the picture. Visit their site at www.sixthirtyone.org.”