Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Rashad Smith finished with 18 points to lead the Tulsa Golden Hurricane over the Rice Owls, 66-56, in a Conference USA battle at Tudor Fieldhouse.
For the Golden Hurricane (11-12, 6-3 C-USA), James Woodard added 15 points and Brandon Swannegan chipped in with 10 points.
Max Guercy led the Owls (7-16, 2-8) with 17 points, Austin Ramljak finished with 11 points and Sean Obi pulled down 12 rebounds.
Both teams struggled to find their range in the first half. Tulsa shot just 37.5 percent from the field and missed all but one of its eight tries from 3- point range. Rice was no better, shooting just 30.8 percent, including 3-of-14 from beyond the arc. Trailing 23-18 with just over three minutes remaining in the half, the Golden Hurricane scored the final nine points of the period and took a 27-23 advantage into halftime.
Tulsa never trailed in the second half. Rice got to within four, 57-53, with 1:11 to play, but the Golden Hurricane made all five of their free throws in the final minute to secure the victory.
Tulsa had the advantage down low, outscoring Rice in the paint, 32-20. The Owls did their damage on the perimeter, finishing with a 21-6 scoring edge from 3-point distance.