Pirates Fall To Tulsa In C-USA Tourney Opener
March 12, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Jerome Jordan had 18 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks on Wednesday afternoon to lead Tulsa to a 66-49 victory over East Carolina in the opening game of the Conference USA tournament.
Jordan dominated the middle, helping the Golden Hurricane (18-12) control the boards 46-29 and hold East Carolina to 28 percent shooting.
"We didn't shoot the ball well. We didn't rebound the ball well," East Carolina coach Mack McCarthy said. "When that happens, you get beat badly."
The 7-foot Jordan connected on 6-of-11 from the field for Tulsa. His eight blocks matched his career high.
Ben Uzoh scored 15 points for Tulsa, which will face second-seeded UAB on Thursday.
Jordan said he was aware he was flirting with a triple-double when fans started chanting late in the game, and his teammates told him it was in reach.
"I got pretty excited then," Jordan said.
But Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said because of the deficit East Carolina (11-19), the tournament's 10th-seed was trying to overcome, Jordan wasn't getting many opportunities.
"They were just coming down and shooting threes, so there really wasn't a chance to get the other two blocks," Wojcik said.
Cory Farmer led East Carolina with 15 points, while Gabe Blair added 10 points. Leading scorer Sam Hinnant, guarded by Tulsa's Ray Reese most of the afternoon, was held scoreless, missing all six of his shots in the game.
"Jordan erased a lot of the things we did," McCarthy said. "He just played an outstanding game on both ends of the floor. I don't know that he was the total difference in the game, but he was a big difference in the game."
The seventh-seeded Golden Hurricane, who defeated East Carolina 66-61 in the regular season, built the lead to 22 in the second half and coasted to their eighth win in the last 10 games. Sixteen of Tulsa's wins this season have been by double digits.
Tulsa held a 28-23 lead at the break behind the defensive play of Jordan and a 12-1 rally midway through the half.
Tulsa was able to extend the lead to double digits in the opening stages of the second half when Brett McDade and Rod Earls connected on consecutive baskets for a 36-25 Golden Hurricane lead.