GAME NOTES: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane and Green Bay Phoenix will battle it out for third place in the Great Alaska Shootout when they meet at Sullivan Arena on Saturday night.
Tulsa missed out on a chance to play for the tournament title on Saturday as it was dismissed in a 72-65 final by TCU in the semifinals. The loss to the Horned Frogs came on the heels of Tulsa's first win in six tries this season, which the Golden Hurricane scraped together in a 63-62 decision versus Indiana State.
A short winning streak came to an end in the semifinals for Green Bay, which was outlasted, 76-64, by Harvard. The Phoenix had won back-to-back games before the loss. Green Bay is sporting a 3-2 record on the young season.
Saturday will mark the first time the Golden Hurricane and Phoenix have ever met in men's basketball.
Small disadvantages from beyond the arc (15-12) and the free-throw line (17-13) added up in the end to push Tulsa down against TCU. The Golden Hurricane hit an even 40 percent of their shots from the floor in the contest, although they did hold a slight edge on the boards (38-34).
It was another mediocre offensive showing for Tulsa, which is only shooting at a 43.2 percent clip from the field this season. That includes a 30 percent showing from beyond the arc that has amounted to a pedestrian scoring average (69.2 ppg). Failing to score more has also led to a growing deficit in terms of scoring differential (-8). The Golden Hurricane are not blessed with a number of potent scorers. Rashad Smith (13.3 ppg) is hitting better than 53 percent of his field goal attempts as the top option. James Woodard (11.3 ppg) and Shaquille Harrison (10.3 ppg) are the next best options.
Green Bay was tied with Harvard at halftime, but just didn't have enough down the stretch on Friday. The Phoenix wre outscored, 21-9, from the free-throw line in the contest, and also suffered from a 40-28 deficit on the boards. Green Bay also allowed 24 points off turnovers.
Keifer Sykes (22.4 ppg) kept up the tear he has been on to start the year with a 26-point effort against Harvard. Sykes didn't have as much success as he usually does from beyond the arc though, netting just 2-of-7 attempts. The Phoenix entered play against Harvard with five players averaging in double figures, but came away with only four after Alec Brown (12.2 ppg) and Carrington Love (11.4 ppg) each scored 12 points, but Greg Mays (8.8 ppg) and Vince Garrett (10.6 ppg) saw their averages drop by netting only six points combined. As a whole, the Phoenix are averaging a solid 78 points per game.
Expect Green Bay's balanced offensive attack to get back on track en route to its fourth victory of the season.
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