Fri, 22 Jan 2021

Tulsa seeks first win, takes on UT Arlington

Field Level Media
04 Dec 2020, 06:19 GMT+10

Tulsa will be on the hunt for its first win of the season when it squares off against battle-tested UT Arlington on Friday afternoon in the home opener for the Golden Hurricane.

The Golden Hurricane (0-2) dropped both of their games in last weekend's CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, falling to TCU and then South Carolina.

UT Arlington is 1-3, including a 72-60 loss at Arkansas on Wednesday that was the Mavericks' fourth game in eight days.

After surprising many in 2019-20 by winning the American Athletic Conference title, Tulsa has stumbled out of the gate this year.

The Golden Hurricane had a late lead in its season-opening loss against TCU but couldn't hold on and faltered in the 69-58 loss to South Carolina in the tournament's consolation final, going scoreless for nine-plus minutes in the second half while missing 13 consecutive field goals.

"We didn't do a good job of taking care of the aggressiveness on the ball and their physical play," Tulsa coach Frank Haith said after the loss.

Brandon Rachal scored 14 points for Tulsa in the setback versus South Carolina, while Keyshawn Embery-Simpson and Elijah Joiner each added 11 points.

Rachal earned a spot on the AAC Honor Roll this week after averaging 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in the two matchups. He shot 13-for-23 (56.5 percent) from the field and 4-for-5 from the free throw line.

"I'm gonna bring a lot more than just offense to the team this year," Rachal said. "I've always been a guy that never takes a play off on defense and that's always willing to make a dirty play for my team and run through a wall for them."

The Mavericks couldn't overcome a big second-half run in the loss to the Razorbacks. UT Arlington had its chances to come back as it held Arkansas to only six points over the final 10 minutes of the game, but the Mavericks were only able to score 14 points of their own over the deciding stretch.

Shahada Wells scored 17 points, 16 of them in the second half, and Fredelin De La Cruz had 11 for UT Arlington on Wednesday.

Wells, a 6-foot transfer from Tyler (Tex.) Junior College, is leading the Mavericks on offense and defense, averaging 17.8 points per game and nabbing 11 steals.

"Shahada creates a lot of problems for our opponents," UT Arlington coach Chris Ogden said. "He can score at three levels. He's got a high, high basketball IQ and some long arms. He's been a very good addition for us."

--Field Level Media

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