It has been less then golden for the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa heading into Tuesday night's game against Iona as their recent stretch of games has seen them go winless in their last three games at home and only one win coming on the road against Oklahoma State.
With their last win at home coming against Wichita State on November 17, this match up against the Gaels of Iona presented a potentially tough case for Frank Haith's Tulsa side as the Gaels' were no team to be taken lightly. Especially as they were heading to Oklahoma after absolutely drubbing both Fairfield and Marist in the same week with back-to-back, 101-point games as a nice way to kick off Metro Atlantic play.
Iona though while starting MAAC play on the right foot, have been interesting away from New Rochelle. By interesting a totally different looking team as they are 1-2 record wise in nonconference games in the run up to Tuesday night's affair against Tulsa.
Iona's struggles away from home and conference would continue Tuesday night as Tulsa sought to control the game from the onset. At intervals throughout the game they have near complete control on the court, including at times looking like they were going to put Iona on ice midway through the second half. At one point Tulsa lead Iona by a score of 86-62, which was the largest lead on the night though that would not hold as Iona tried to chip away at Tulsa's lead every way possible.
A.J. English would finish the night with a game leading 31 points, be by far one of the best players on the floor for Iona with a hot hand and repeated trips to the charity strike going 11-of-12, but could not get it done without his supporting cast. Especially as Jordan Washington and Isiah Williams both fouled out of the game for Iona. Despite fouling out, Washington did have a double-double tonight of 18 point and 10 rebounds over the course of 25 minutes of play.
Speaking foul shots though, as a team Iona overall was very active at the foul line tonight with a percentage of 79% on 23-of-29 shooting at the line. Trips to the line also serviced the Gaels well as they were poor from beyond the arc and also shooting in general finishing the night with 25-of-60 in terms of field goals made and attempted.
On Tulsa's side, the were lead by the play of Shaquille Harrison and James Woodard as they finished the night with 24 points and 21 points respectively. Off the bench the Golden Hurricane also had significant bench production to the tune of dual 10 point games from Rashad Ray and Pat Brit. Tulsa also got a number of their point by crashing the paint for 28 points over the course of the night, which also in a way made up for their struggles at the foul line as they only converted 18-of-31 foul shots, which in another game would be significant soft spot.
In the end though Tulsa finally bucked the growing trend of home losses and are now 6-3 on the season as well. Iona on the other hand still has a bit to work on with regards to non-conference games. Tuesday night's game showed they are close to bucking their growing trend but still appear to have a few areas to work on.